Perhaps it was nothing more than a disturbing coincidence, but this Columbus Day, Facebook decided to delete the accounts of Native Americans from the Midwest Village of Yellow Springs, Ohio. Yellow Springs became nationally known after Dave Chappelle’s Block Party toured popular spots in the comedians hometown.
Yellow Springs has something of a reputation for social justice activism, going back to Horace Mann, and – now that you mention it – the Antioch College and University, where Coretta Scott King, the wife of Martin Luther King, Jr. graduated (though her time in Yellow Springs was hardly devoid of encounters with racism) often serves as a magnet for activists.
Many of the students at Antioch have been visible at the John Crawford protests in nearby Beavercreek.
One of those associated with Antioch is Shane Creepingbear. He’s the Assistant Director of Admission and Multicultural Recruitment and Enrollment Coordinator at Antioch College.
While he is easy enough to find on the Antioch website, Facebook did no investigation before deleting his account. Facebook, apparently thought his name was “made up,” as they decided Columbus Day would be a great time to deactivate the Facebook accounts of Shane and his wife Jacqui Creepingbear.
Both had their accounts reactivated, but Jacqui explains that this has happened before. Facebook has repeatedly shut down her husband’s account. But after the last time, when the social media giant was provided with a valid drivers license, proving that the name was real, they thought the issue was over and done with.
Apparently, Shane explains, if Facebook receives a notification that your name is fake, if they do a simple visual glance at it and believe that it is, they will delete your account with no investigation. Apparently that also means they will not even look through files that you submitted in the past to prove you are who you say you are.
The timing of the account deactivation is particularly disturbing. Yes, it could all be a coincidence, or it could have been a targeted date by a racist who had a grudge against Shane and Jacqui, and wished to use the laziness of Facebook account verifiers as their weapon.
Facebook has – not surprisingly – not responded to our request for a statement about this.
(Article by David Adawehi; contributing reporters names’ withheld at their request; images via Facebook)