The Valdez Star - Serving Prince William Sound and Copper River Basin

Valdez Star 

How the Valdez Star Facebook page got hijacked

Inflammatory posts and comments easily traced back to former employee


October 17, 2018

Screen shot Valdez Star Facebook Business Manager

The ads manager function for the Valdez Star business manager on Facebook shows the true identity of the person who made the posts under the name of the Valdez Star. The second post flaming Arnold was deleted by the true Valdez Star before the screen shot was captured.

This is a cautionary story about how a Facebook business page can be hijacked – we know because it happened to us.

If you own a business page on Facebook take heed: anyone who is assigned what is known as a "Page Role" can open an Instagram account and take virtual ownership of the page, even if that person is removed from the Page Role. That person will then have the ability to post under your page identity. Here is how it happened to us.

Between 2 and 3 a.m. Saturday morning, inappropriate posts and comments on posts appeared on the Valdez Star Facebook page – and appeared to the public to have been posted by the Valdez Star.

See the first photo published with the article to see the information Facebook provided to show Weber had effectively hijacked the Valdez Star Facebook page.

Three new posts were on the Star homepage – and appeared to be posted by the Valdez Star - one mocking former reporter Steven Weber himself, as was a comment to a reader, where using the Valdez Star name he referred to himself as "Retarded Jesus."

The second post shared a link to a news article published by the Nome Nugget regarding financial woes facing the area school district. Commentary was posted as the Valdez Star stating that the problem was caused by Shawn Arnold, the former Nome superintendent who is now superintendent of Valdez City Schools.

The third phony Valdez Star post was linked to an old news article from 2015 when the former superintendent, Jim Nygaard, approached the board of education seeking to institute drug testing for all students that participate in school activities in grades 6-12. Posing as the Valdez Star, Weber suggested teachers for Valdez City Schools need drug testing.

Weber is a former Valdez City Schools teacher who had been put on leave in April by Nygaard before the end of his first-year contract with the district. He received full pay but was banned from Valdez High School property before his teaching contract expired.

Weber had filed at least one complaint against the school district alleging discrimination against him due to a pre-existing health condition; the complaint was dismissed by the regulatory agency.

Weber was again trespassed from all school district property for inappropriate activity on school grounds while school was in session.

Valdez police attempted to serve Weber a trespass notice from the school district at the Valdez Star office August 29, but he was not present at the time. The trespass notice was later served by police to Weber at Valdez City Hall.

In a September email sent to Arnold, which was CC'd to the high school principal, the Valdez Star, police officer Scott McCumby and Valdez Police Chief Bart Hinkle, Weber claimed " is obvious that the school district has wanted to decrease my quality of life as much as possible in Valdez."

In the same email, Weber claimed his woes with the school district were caused by a disagreement with Woodgate on grading student assignments, with no mention of health-related disabilities.

Screen shot Valdez Star Facebook Business Manager

These two screen shots show that a former reporter was able to hijack the Valdez Star Facebook page before he was let go. Former reporter Steven Weber's personal Facebook profile at the time was his first and middle names, Steven Robert.

Weber was removed from all administrative roles on the Valdez Star Facebook page around the time the trespass notice was issued – or so it was thought. Because he had opened the Instagram account that claimed the Valdez Star page, he was still able to post on the page through what is called the Ads Manager function, and worse yet, he was able to do it posting as the Valdez Star.

Weber has also reached out to numerous elected officials and city administration in Valdez the past two weeks claiming he had given notice to the Valdez Star that he was going to launch a new print edition newspaper in Valdez – except he had failed to notify the Valdez Star and was using our property to further his business ambitions.

The Valdez Star reported Weber to Valdez police Saturday for identity theft and holding Valdez Star property he had in his possession he had refused to return earlier. The property was returned – though he claimed earlier to no longer have some items he had been given to use.

The moral of this story? Be sure to claim your Facebook business page through Instagram yourself and if you must remove anyone with any role in administering your page, be sure there are no back-door ways for unauthorized access to occur.


Reader Comments

StevenRobert writes:

Since the publication of this libelous news article I have not been able to find a job. I have requested the author more than once to remove it. Suicide may become my only option as I see no other option at the moment. Thank you very much for writing this article Lee Revis you have done more damage than you can ever imagine.

BeaJust writes:

Forgive me for saying that something seems a bit off about the Star lately. First the scathing gossip report about Misty Phillip's, and now this one about the reporter who originally wrote the story? What's going on guys and girls? Please correct whatever is going on. You cant hijack a Facebook account from Instagram! Especially when the person has been deleted and the password changed! Please stop insulting my intelligence by sticking to the who, what, when, whys, and where and skip the gossip!

StevenRobert writes:

This is my written request to remove this article due to libel.


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