On April 24, AAWA undertook a major change when it decided to rename itself as “Advocates for Awareness of Watchtower Abuses.”
Shortly after AAWA’s launch, it became apparent that our name might not be conveying our message to the mainstream media as effectively as we had intended. Therefore, after welcoming and organizing the many volunteers streaming in, we gave our full attention to this matter.
Volunteers offered suggestions and we gratefully listened. We also consulted with a number of professional PR companies. The end result is a name that we feel describes who we are, and does a much better job of representing our mission.
Improvements to AAWA Facebook Groups
A number of concerns have been raised regarding AAWA’s Facebook group. The basic problem was that, on our launch day (April 3), a significant number of individuals from the Ex-JW community were added to AAWA’s Facebook group both by administrators and group members without their consent. Once this was brought to the attention of AAWA’s board, we apologized and put an immediate stop to the “force adding” – putting measures in place to ensure that only those who wanted to join our group would be added.
At the time, we thought reasonable action had been taken to resolve things. This belief stemmed from the fact that AAWA’s group has always been a “secret” group, meaning that only other group members could see who had joined. We were therefore satisfied that members of the AAWA group were safe – even those who had been indiscriminately added on April 3 – because they were not visible as members of the group to outsiders.
However, there have been developments over the past week that have forced us to revisit this. In particular, it has become apparent that, despite our protocols, our original Facebook group settings alone could not allow us to make the assurances that we needed to make. We are aware that people have entered our main group with bad intentions, and this has posed serious questions.
Following much thought, we have decided to close down our Facebook group, which will occur on April 25 at 12 noon, EDT. It will be replaced with a new group where the only members are those who have expressly indicated their desire to join. This new group will also offer the highest security settings that Facebook can provide, but it will only be populated by those who wish to be a part of AAWA’s success.
In hindsight, we wish this decision had been made earlier. It is hoped that by taking this step now we we will go some way towards reassuring the Ex-JW community that we are very serious about our responsibility to safeguard people’s privacy.
Our Humble Apologies
We are also mindful of several individuals who suffered distress on April 3 when they were added to our group against their will. We should have handled matters differently. We therefore offer our most sincere and unreserved apologies to all of these ones, and any others who were in any way harmed through being added to our Facebook group without their consent.
We are very grateful for the tremendous support given by so many to our mission. It is our hope that the Ex-JW community will continue supporting our cause – especially as we begin to spread our wings and embark on some exciting initiatives that are looming on the horizon.
John Cedars, President of AAWA