John Suthers orders state agencies to take down Facebook pages -- but he won't say why

Colorado Attorney General John Suthers' office has ordered every state agency and institution of higher education to take down their Facebook pages if they have one, according to Rebecca Laurie, spokeswoman for History Colorado, which does have a page.

Attorney General's spokesman Mike Saccone would only say that his office had been "in communication with the agencies regarding Facebook's terms and conditions.

"I can't discuss privileged information about our clients," he adds. "They are all our clients and we provide them with legal guidance."

However, Laurie's post said that the attorney general had issued the order "due to indemnity issues. They are working on a solution, but until then, the History Colorado Fan Page is going offline today."

Laurie tells Westword she doesn't know what the indemnity issues are, but she was disappointed to have to remove the page, which has 574 fans. "It is a process to build it up and to take it down," she says. "But we will do it again when the issues are worked out."

Saccone confirms that the attorney general's office is working with Facebook on the issues. Indemnity issues arise when a company becomes financially liable for something that one of its customers has done while using the company's product.

Other state agencies that have Facebook pages that are still live include the Colorado Department of Transportation and the University of Colorado, which has more than 17,000 fans.

CDOT spokeswoman Stacey Stegman says her understanding of the memo sent by the AG's office is that agencies with current pages don't have to take them down. "A couple [agencies] were getting ready to launch them," she says. "It was more of a, 'Hold off, don't create any new ones until we figure out some of these issues.'"

Stegman says she has no plans to take down CDOT's Facebook page.

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Jonathan Shikes is a Denver native who writes about business and beer for Westword.
Contact: Jonathan Shikes