Facebook reinstates One Day Closer to Rain page after outrage

The One Day Closer to Rain (Drought) Facebook page has been shut down

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WORRIED: Merriwa farmer and One Day Closer to Rain Facebook page founder Cassandra McLaren.

WORRIED: Merriwa farmer and One Day Closer to Rain Facebook page founder Cassandra McLaren.

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Group members who relied on the page were in shock overnight when it was pulled.

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Facebook has reinstated the One Day Closer to Rain Facebook page hours after it confirmed it would not budge on it's decision to shut down the group.

The social media giant said on Tuesday night that it had reviewed its decision to disable the page and concluded it had breached community standards and would not be reinstated.

But in a shock twist, Facebook reversed the decision on Wednesday morning.

Page founder, and Merriwa farmer, Cassandra McLaren was left incredibly grateful, and confused, when she was given back the page.

She has been told a post advertising a tractor led to the page being disabled on Tuesday morning.

Ms McLaren can't recall such a post and said the group doesn't sell anything.

"We have a lot of tractor memes that go up from time to time, I can't recall a post about a tractor sale," she said.

"I'm going to ask for more information because I don't want this to happen again."

Ms McLaren set up another page called One Day Closer to Rain (Drought) - Support on Tuesday night to ensure group members still had an online place to come together.

She will now archive that group and continue with the original page.

She thanked the community for their concern and support during the shut down.

EARLIER: A Facebook page that unites the city and the bush - and gives vital support to those battling the worst drought in living memory, has been suddenly shut down.

Facebook has removed the ever popular - and critically important, One Day Closer to Rain (Drought) page and told its founder Merriwa farmer Cassandra McLaren that the page has breached community standards.

"You group has been disabled. Your group has been disabled because it doesn't follow our community standards," Facebook wrote.

The news has left Ms McLaren, and the 45,000 members, without a platform to unite and support each other through this unrelenting drought.

The page has been supporting farmers, building a bridge between the city and the country and raising awareness about the severity of the drought since May 2018.

It is a public page where users are required to become members before they can interact.

Ms McLaren has been left questioning how a page, which has become a vital community service, could have breached Facebook's standards.

She has requested Facebook review its decision. A computer generated response said "your group has been disabled because it doesn't follow our community standards on regulated goods. An admin has requested that we review this decision, and we'll send you an update soon."

Facebook has been contacted for comment.

SHUT DOWN: Facebook has removed the One Day Closer to Rain Facebook page.

SHUT DOWN: Facebook has removed the One Day Closer to Rain Facebook page.

"We can't just wait for it to be reviewed, we need an outcry to get this fixed," Ms McLaren said.

"Someone has to review this quickly, but there is no way of picking up the phone and contacting anybody at Facebook to tell them what has happened and explain why this page is so critical.

"On the post when I submitted the review it talked about selling animals and guns and stuff like that. We don't do any of that on that page. You put the word cattle on a post and they seem to think you are selling an animal."

With the festive season fast approaching Ms McLaren is worried the absence of the page will make drought-ravaged farmers and communities feel even more isolated.

"This page is vital for people who want to reach out in a safe environment and share their challenges and talk about what they are going through. Sometimes farmers post to ask for help from other farmers when they have a problem with an animal," she said.

"This is not just a page, it's a community, it's a place to get information, to find the links for drought assistance and information about what to do if they are feeling down."

Ms McLaren started the page after her daughter became upset when they had to sell some of the cattle because of the lack of feed.

The story Facebook reinstates One Day Closer to Rain page after outrage first appeared on The Maitland Mercury.

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