Valley upset over Facebook satire page

Published 9:42 pm Wednesday, July 11, 2018

VALLEY — A Facebook page satirizing Valley has changed its logo following a press release from city officials.

The page, simply named “The City of Valley,” was created last year by an anonymous individual, or group of individuals. Since then it has been updated fairly frequently, posting jokes about the city like advisories of Fob James Drive’s flooding or pictures of uncut grass along Highway 29.

As of this report, the page has been liked by 898 people and followed by 937.

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The average post gets upwards of 50 likes and 30 comments with Valley residents agreeing, disagreeing or just playing along with the joke.

Under the most cursory of inspections one could determine that the page is unofficial, the “Bio” section even stating, “The City of Valley Alabama is one of the greatest cities in America. This is a satire page and you should not believe anything you read. It’s for laughs.” However, the page used the official City of Valley seal as their logo and had city hall as the cover photo, causing officials to take issue.

The Times-News was able to get in touch with the creator — or creators.

They said that the page’s origin came from a similar page that poked fun at the city of Atlanta.

Only seeking to improve Valley, the page only posts things that are pointed out to them by residents.

“[We do it] to entertain the citizens of Valley,” they said. “The topics we bring up are relevant and get people thinking. We like that, but our real goal is just humor.”

According to Councilmember Randall Maddux, the council has been aware of the page since its inception.

Wanting their seal removed but not being able to since it didn’t break Facebook’s guidelines, they “put it on the back burner” due to the page’s relatively small size. Since it has grown, however, the city tried to have their imagery removed.

“The FB page states it is a satire page,” reads a press release signed by Mayor Leonard Riley. “City of Valley Officials have no problem with the use of satire; however, the unauthorized use of the name and seal of the city on this FB page could adversely affect the progress being made in the industrial and retail recruitment and development within the city.”

The release then asked those behind the page to remove the seal, something Maddux echoed to The Valley Times-News.

“When these companies look to locate to places, you’d be surprised at how in-depth their inquiries are as far as looking into the community,” he said. “That’s our main concern. It gives the city a black eye right at the start without really getting a chance to see what the fabric of Valley is made up of.”

This was never the intention according to those behind the page.

They said that the overall response has been good, with the hundreds of people engaged with the page enjoying the humor of their content.

That was the recurring theme the creators included in their responses, just doing it for fun.

According to them, they genuinely feel the city is great and the page is there in hopes that by poking fun at issues, they might be fixed.

“We never intended for there to be any confusion on this page,” they said. “From the outset it was clear to anyone who looked at the page that it was clearly satire. That is why we put that in the description. As to the use of the official seal, we comply with the request and will be changing that as soon as we can. We appreciate the respectful and polite request from Mayor Riley. We believe that he and his team are doing a great job overall. We love this city and would never seek to adversely affect the progress being made in industrial and retail recruitment and development within the city.”