Northfields Community Fight Facebook 'Coup'

After an apparent attempt to make money from the popular local group

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A local Facebook group with over 25,000 members has been the focus of major drama this week after an apparent 'takeover' and allegations of attempts to monetise it.

Northfield Friends (NFF)is a hugely popular group based on the Facebook platform which has grown massively over the last few years.

The first administrator set it up 7 years ago and later handed control to others to look after and moderate on a voluntary basis.

However (and seemingly out of the blue) this week new administrators were appointed from outside the local area and immediately proposed to change the current free set-up and charge businesses to join their directory of 'vetted and approved' tradesmen.

There have also been reports that the admin rights had been 'sold' on to them with suggestions that it went for £10,000. This caused a massive outcry with many members immediately deciding to leave the popular local social media group and setting up another. contacted one of the two new administrators, George Taylor asking him to explain the situation but has so far had no response. We also asked Keith R Collins - the former admin - to clarify what had exactly happened and also asked whether money had been transferred. This is his reply.

'' I was made one of the Admin of NFF about 2 years ago there were several other admins 8/10 I think. Over the next few months several gave up. And we were left with a core admin team of 5 admins. Soon after it was apparent that no Important decision were being made and on many occasions the other members were becoming antagonistic toward the members of NFF.

"I then made the decision that I was going to remove the other admin members as the general mood of the group was low. Once I removed them I added another local gentleman as a replacement admin. This was back in April or May. Some people said it was a coup but I genuinely feel that the power went to the now removed admin's head. And the group was being negatively micro managed.

" Me and Steve the now newly instated admin proceeded to basically let the group run itself and only really intervened to posts that had been reported by members. Recently we were contacted by a local person who was interested in purchasing the admin rights for NFF. At no point had we ever tried to sell our admin rights. Over the last few weeks we were repeatedly contacted by the third party as to whether we had any more thoughts on the subject. After thinking long and hard we both wanted to relinquish admin responsibly as we no longer work or live in the area,and wanted to hand over the group who had experience of running groups and was obviously level headed. There is a lot of supposition and untrue rumours about what happened.

" Also many people who we blocked for trolling the group have been reinstated as members and are adding to the negativity of the situation. At the end of the day it's a social media group. The original creator relinquished the group to others many years ago.''

Following the drama former local based administrators have now been reinstated and service appears to have resumed as normal.

The Liberal Democrat Councillor Jon Ball who is a member of the group and watched it all unfold said, '' I’m delighted to see that after the drama, Northfields Friends has been restored to the community resource that it was and trust that the newly restored former Admin team will keep it safe for years to come. Well done to hundreds of local members for making it very clear that they would not put up with the site being misused in this way. Today’s insurgency was a fabulous example of community spirit and people power.''

Concerns remain over the intentions of the remaining external admininistrators, we are awaiting a response and will update when received.

We have asked Facebook for further information and to explain the legalities and await their response.


21 November 2018

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