Overwhelmed with new members, Facebook group in 'The Keepers' shuts down

A Baltimore-based Facebook group featured in the Netflix docu-series “The Keepers” has temporarily been shut down in reaction to a flood of new members.

“The Keepers,” a seven-part series that revisits the 1969 disappearance and murder of Sister Catherine Cesnik, a teacher at Archbishop Keough High School in Baltimore, became available on the streaming service Friday.

On Sunday, Gemma Hoskins, co-founder of the public Facebook group Justice for Catherine Cesnik and Joyce Malecki, posted a note on its page: “Dear friends, due to a major traffic jam, this page is closed.”

A week prior to the series release, the group had just under 1,000 members.

“Since Friday, over 20k people have joined our cause on our [Facebook] page, Justice for Catherine Cesnik and Joyce Malecki. It was necessary to close the page temporarily due to a traffic jam and a technical glitch,” Hoskins wrote in an email to The Baltimore Sun Wednesday. “Netflix and [Facebook] are working to resolve the issues.”

Ruchika Budhraja, a spokeswoman for Facebook, said Wednesday that its team of investigators could not determine why the page went down.

“Based on what I’ve learned so far, it may very well have been a technical glitch,” she added.

Netflix declined to comment.

“The original page will then become a private page for abuse survivors and those who have credible case information,” Hoskins said. “Those folks will have to request permission to join. Persons on the page prior to Friday will remain.”

Fans of the series can discuss the case in a new, moderated and monitored group called The Keepers Official Group — Justice Catherine Cesnik and Joyce Malecki, Hoskins wrote, explaining that imitation pages have been popping up. “Please know that our original page and The Keepers Official Group are the ONLY legitimate forums.”

The new group had more than 24,000 members as of Wednesday afternoon.

Hoskins and her Facebook group co-founder, Abbie Schaub, are key figures in ‘The Keepers,’ which follows their investigation into the murders of Cesnik and Malecki, another woman whose disappearance came within days of Cesnik’s.

"We are overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support from all over the world in response to ‘The Keepers,’” Hoskins wrote in her email to The Sun. “In a troubled country and a sad world, this has been something the whole world community can agree on and in doing that, come together in the name of children, truth and justice. We will find the answers because of all of you.”

david.zurawik@baltsun.com

twitter.com/davidzurawik

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