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An open (Face)book

TIFFIN– The City of Tiffin’s Facebook page has been hijacked.
What started in July 2011 as a convenient way for the city to post information and a public forum for citizen feedback has turned into a bit of a mess for the city’s current administration, according to city administrator Michon Jackson.
That’s because the posts that appear to be originating from the city offices are instead being posted by an anonymous source, they aren’t from the city and they aren’t exactly strictly informative.
Jackson confirmed last week that while former city council member Chris Ball was Tiffin’s previous Facebook administrator– the person in control of the posts, passwords, access, etc.– Ball gave up his Facebook administrative privileges when he resigned his position on the council in August.
Since then, nobody from the city office has been overseeing the page, and nobody representing the city has been making posts to it, as far as Jackson knows.
Essentially, it’s been abandoned by the City of Tiffin for two months.
Yet the posts keep coming, albeit anonymously.
Recent posts have challenged city council agenda items and questioned the impetus for the resignation of deputy city clerk Caroline Koon. The tenor of the posts was enough to raise eyebrows and the curiosity of some residents. One poster remarked, “Who is running this page? This must not be an official City of Tiffin page because this post looks like gossip.”
Another poster asked for the anonymity to cease.
“I think that it’s just good practice that in all instances where a source is claiming to be representative of a community/municipality that there is forthcoming transparency– a town Facebook page included. Thanks so much for providing everybody with this additional disclosure,” the post read.
Since the Facebook page is not being administered by anyone from the city, and there is currently no staff with time to do so, the Tiffin City Council voted on Sept. 12 for it to be shut down. However, Jackson said without the proper pass codes, there is no way to log into the Facebook account settings to eliminate it.
“I am not a Facebook person, I don’t have a Facebook page and I cannot get into the city’s Facebook page to see who is doing this,” said Jackson. “The only thing the city supports is the city’s website, which is found at www.tiffin-iowa.org, and my Twitter feed, which you can link to from the city’s web page.” Jackson’s tweets include up-to-date information about city events and timely news blasts.
To continue a healthy exchange between citizens and the city, Jackson encouraged all citizens to continue to offer feedback through other means.
“If you want information or have concerns, by all means, call. Or come visit me at city hall,” Jackson said. “I am happy to provide any and all information. We are an open book here.”
An open Facebook, however, is not exactly what she meant.