By ITV News Central Journalist Cree-Summer Haughton
Organisers of Birmingham Pride have been forced to create a new Facebook page after the group's official account was hacked into in a 'highly coordinated cyber attack'.
In December last year, the event's official Facebook page was taken over by hackers who posted misinformation about the upcoming event.
Organisers have contacted Facebook in hopes of regaining control of the account, which had over 70,000 followers, but they have been unable to do so.
A statement released by Birmingham Pride said the loss of the original Facebook page was a “devastating blow.”
“Over the last 12 years, we have amassed over 70,000 followers on the Birmingham Pride page, who follow us for community information, comment and information about the Birmingham Pride festival itself," it said.
“At the beginning of December 2021, the Birmingham Pride Facebook page was subjected to a malicious, highly coordinated attack.
“We have since attempted, daily, to regain control of the page without success. Despite daily communication and every effort internally and externally, Facebook has not reinstated the page or given any indication that they intend to do so.
“We have concluded we will need to start over.”
Lawrence Barton, organiser of Birmingham Pride told ITV Central: “After a period of 12 years of building a page which thousands of people interact which represents and supports the largest event Birmingham City holds.
"I am totally dismayed that having been hacked and without the page, for now, several months, Facebook have not resolved this issue; this is despite dozens of emails being sent to them and I’m afraid to date receiving little to nothing back."After falling victim to a coordinated and sophisticated scam back in December last year, it’s hugely frustrating that a community focussed organisation has been going round and round in circles with little help from anyone at Facebook for over two months, with no satisfactory resolution."The page has over 70,000 followers, built up over 12 years, focussing on important LGBTQ social issues as well as providing information about one of the country’s biggest pride events and one of the cities key events."We are the victims of a cyber attack and we feel unsupported by Facebook who seem to have become a faceless organisation with little regard for their customers, or the community."
ITV has contacted Meta (Facebook) for comment.