Chowchilla Union High School was targeted over the weekend by fraudsters who used a fake Facebook account to promote a pro-Nazi website and post messages promoting Donald Trump, the school’s superintendent said Sunday.
“I’m extremely angry and disappointed that someone would actually take that much time to make a fake Facebook page and … dupe people into thinking it’s the real deal,” Ron Seals, superintendent of the Chowchilla Union High School District, said.
Neither the high school nor the school district has a legitimate Facebook page, he said.
It was unclear when the fraudulent site was created: The posting history on the site appeared to date to September 2014, but nearly all posts appeared to have been made Thursday or later.
Seals said he learned about the postings Sunday when contacted by the Chowchilla News, a sister publication of the Merced Sun-Star.
Many of the posts were related to innocuous school-related topics, such as an activity calendar, yearbook sales and a warning about a phone scam reported in Madera County.
“I WANT TO REMIND EVERYONE THAT THIS IS NOT A REPRESENTATION OF OUR SCHOOL DISTRICT,” SUPERINTENDENT RON SEALS
Late on Friday, however, one post criticized California’s move to ban public schools from using Native Americans as mascots. Chowchilla is in the process of replacing its Redskins’ nickname because of the ban. The same post shared a link to the American Nazi Party.
A post made Sunday urged Californians to register to vote and included message tags supporting Trump’s campaign for the presidency.
Seals said he reported the fraud to Facebook via its site, but that he had been unable to reach anyone at the company by phone.
“You cannot get to a live person,” he said.
The Sun-Star’s calls to Facebook numbers only reached a recording advising callers that it did not offer phone support.
Seals said he would work with the school resource office Monday to determine if there is any action police could take to pursue those responsible for the fraud.
The district, he said, has been planning to launch official Facebook pages and intends to do so for the 2016-17 academic year.
School officials have realized, he said, that Facebook is one of the best ways to quickly communicate with the community.
“In emergency situations, such as lockdowns, Facebook is the fastest way to get information to our parents,” he said.
As of Sunday afternoon, more than 500 people had “liked” the fake page and more than 5,000 had visited it.
Asked whether the district might speed up those plans in light of the fake postings, he said it was something that would need to be discussed with the board.
In the meantime, he said, he hoped that anyone who has hit “like” on the fake Facebook page would “please, remove it.”
And, he said, “I want to remind everyone that this is not a representation of our school district.”
|Chowchilla News Day
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