BULLHEAD CITY — People looking for information about Bullhead City on Facebook over the past few days might have been scratching their heads or laughing aloud instead after finding their way to a page spoofing the one published by the city.
The Bullhead City, Arizona, parody page has been around since mid-February and isn’t produced by the city.
It isn’t sanctioned by city officials, either.
Further annoying to the city is that its own government page was removed after the city requested Facebook take down the spoof page.
“You can’t reach a real person at Facebook,” said Bullhead City Mayor Tom Brady.
A few of the posts have, to put it politely, chaffed Brady’s hide.
Some are even “obscene,” he said.
Brady also pointed to a post he said he believes will cause confusion in the community. It said “several city members” will meet to discuss reducing the speed limit on Highway 95.
The post also features this made-up quote:
“I mean it just makes sense, nobody ever goes over 25, 30 tops. ... We just want to do everything we can to keep our residents safe and happy and if that means inconviencing (sic) people and making traffic worse than it already is, than (sic) so be it”
A different post on the parody page states that “local health officials” are advising people to stay safe from the coronavirus infection by “not eating bats.”
One of the other phony health tips is to “drink hand sanitizer.”
“Most hand sanitizers claim to kill 99.9% of germs, but what about the germs inside you?” the fake post states.
A little fun might not hurt anyone, but sometimes it can. A quick online search showed that many of the alcohols used in hand sanitizer can be toxic if swallowed.
City Manager Toby Cotter explained that this situation with Facebook makes it more difficult for the city to provide legitimate information to the public — especially when the spoof site looks an awful lot like the real one.
The city’s page isn’t just an online location to report that a new business has opened or that someone won an award.
“It’s an outlet if we have emergencies,” Cotter noted.
Someone on the fake page reading a cute (but phony) post about a SEAL team being trained to provide security along Colorado River accompanied with a photo of armed, uniformed seals could miss information on the real page about fast-approaching severe weather or a lengthy traffic backup on a road that seldom has vehicles stopped on it, for example.
Cotter said it’s hoped the real Bullhead City government page can return soon, perhaps today or Tuesday. The city sent a letter Friday to Facebook to let the social media company know a mistake was made.
The city might end up suing the creators of the spoof page over use of the city’s incorporation logo if it continues doing so.
Cotter added that the spoof page is “damaging to the city’s reputation.”
A message sent by the newspaper to the spoof page wasn’t returned Sunday. On the spoof page’s “About” section, it states that it’s “purely satrical” (sic).