In Community Design, Media

On Monday, October 4, as the world resumed business as usual after the global Facebook crash, Verge Permaculture found to our shock that our business page was – poof – gone. Deleted…with no cause or reason given, stopping us cold barely two weeks before the start of our global Permaculture Summit! And this was with a significant part of our marketing efforts invested in Facebook.

To say we felt stunned…angry…bitter…betrayed…would be putting it mildly. But having had the experience of Google de-indexing our website in 2018, we knew the best approach was simple:

Reach out to our network: our amazing permaculture community of alumni, clients, colleagues and friends.

And thanks be, they stepped up – promoting the Summit in their networks and to their friends. Our deepest thanks go out to them for helping to make the event a success despite Facebook!

It was a friend, who talked to a friend, who knew someone who worked at Facebook and pulled strings behind the scenes, who made the difference on the Facebook platform.  

That contact reached out to us for our testimony, and shortly after, emailed us privately, telling us that an internal review revealed that our page didn’t violate any community standards. He said Facebook was restoring our page and taking steps to ensure this did not happen again.

And boom – just like that, our business page magically reappeared, out of nowhere. Facebook never made an official apology for the error.

As the old saying goes – connections seem to be what counts at Facebook. And although we are incredibly appreciative to the Facebook employee who, acting on his own accord, went out of his way to help us out, to our mind, it is wrong that we had no official channel through which to appeal. If we had not been lucky enough to have this third-degree connection, our page would never have been restored. 

So now, we are deliberating the question:

where do we go from here?

It’s not just a matter of ensuring Verge’s online presence will not be arbitrarily shut down again. Our goal is much bigger: we’re aiming to give the permaculture community a secure place in social media!

The shadow side of Facebook has been all over the headlines, TV news, bookstores, and streaming media; and we have concerns that it’s not a platform aligned with regenerative marketing and community-building. In fact, we’d been reconsidering our Facebook presence for some time, and the deletion of our page only accelerated our decision to move.

So what’s our alternative?

Well, even before our page was deleted, we’d known we needed to move toward diversifying our network. To gain control of our online presence, we’d started developing a pioneering app for hosting and promoting our courses and events. 

But now that’s just the beginning: this app is being expanded to become a hub for growing the global permaculture community. We aim to provide the safe space for regenerative conversations and growth that Facebook can’t give. 

The app is in development now, with a launch slated for early 2022….stay tuned!

For now, we will maintain a minimal Verge presence on Facebook to share important news and advertise our upcoming PDC and other courses and events. But when our app is ready, we’ll be migrating our community there, and Facebook will become only a small part of our resilient online community.

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  • Rod McLaren

    Good news. Resilience requires a new platform. Kudos and much gratitude Verge for committing to this very worthwhile endeavour.


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