If there’s any doubt that Facebook is censoring posts, just ask Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT) public relations specialist Cody Beers.
Beers, whose job is to communicate with the public and the media in northwest Wyoming, found out this week that Facebook is watching. And if they don’t agree with something posted, they’ll strike it down and penalize the offender.
Beers put up a popular — and facetious — meme on June 29 “warning” campers about Bigfoot and what to do if you see the mythical beast. Do not chase or feed him, the meme warns, but feel free to take a photo.
A few days later, the meme was unavailable. The post was still there, but the meme was blacked-out and the words “False information” was present. To provide proof of the falsity, they mention that the information was analyzed by "independent fact-checkers."
“We were just having fun with our readers, the people who follow us,” Beers told Cowboy State Daily. “And it went viral.”
But then it ended and Beers was sent to Facebook jail.
“That post sent me to jail and I don’t apologize for it,” Beers laughed.
Beers said part of his job is growing the audience on his Facebook and Twitter pages so WYDOT can best communicate with the public about highways, road maintenance, construction and everything that the department does.
So, he looks for ways to build his audience.
“I have found to increase readers, we need to have fun every once in awhile,” Beers said. “We had a wet spring and a bad winter, so I thought it would be fun to share this.”
And it worked. In three days, he said it had 65,000 views and an additional 3,000 people followed the page.
Despite being thrown in Facebook jail, Beers said he views the strategy as a win for the department.
“Facebook didn’t view it that way,” he said. “They said we weren’t telling the truth about Bigfoot, which I think is hilarious.”
Of the five WYDOT districts, four have a Facebook page: District 1 covers southeast Wyoming, District 2 covers central and eastern Wyoming, District 4 covers northeast Wyoming, and District 5 covers northwest Wyoming.
District 3, which covers southwest and western Wyoming, does not appear to have a page.
Jimmy Orr can be reached at email@example.com.