A recent change to Facebook's algorithm has law enforcement agencies across the country, including Anchorage Police, concerned. 

Facebook is now filtering your feed to show you posts from family and friends first, rather than content from businesses, brands, media and government agencies. 

APD spokesperson MJ Thim said he had hoped law enforcement agencies would be the exception, as they use Facebook to communicate information about public safety to their communities. 

"We understand where Facebook was coming from, it's just, from our position, the horse really was already out of the gate -- you can't put it back in. And so this is a platform that has become a great way to connect with the community and so for law enforcement, when you're dealing with public safety issues and you're trying to get information out to the public as quickly as possible, not just with traditional platforms [...] but with other social media platforms, you can't just stop and take us out of the equation," said Thim. 

Thim says APD has already noticed a drop in its Facebook engagement.

"To filter us out, that's a real disservice to the community." 

APD has now joined law enforcement agencies in the Lower 48 by signing a petition and writing a letter to Facebook opposing the change as it relates to public safety entities. 

"It's unfortunate. Law enforcement should have been the exception to the rule," Thim said, "But, it's not our only social media platform that we use. Nixle is the one that we really recommend to folks to stay connected to us." 

Nixle subscribers can choose whether to receive public safety alerts from APD via text, email or both. Thim says while a large percentage of subscribers prefer text alerts, they recommend signing up for emails to get the most information. 

Thim says APD has roughly 53,000 subscribers to its Nixle alert system, compared to its 36,500 likes on Facebook. And while they're seeing a decline in Facebook engagement, they're still seeing high interest in certain posts, including a dashcam video shared Monday showing an animal that sparked a dog versus wolf debate. 

"It went viral, and so it proved to us the engagement is still there. It may not be as impactful as before they changed it, but it's still there for us," said Thim. 

You can still tell Facebook what you want to see. It's as simple as going to the agency, media, or business's page, clicking on the drop-down arrow on the following tab, and selecting "see first." 

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