Yep, you read it right folks: a couple weeks ago, Facebook decided to delete my freakin’ professional photography business page. ALL. OF. IT. For the SECOND time within a year. And the worst part is, I still don’t know why!
Not the only victim
I did some research through the internet and found out I was far from being the only one experiencing it. A lot of Facebook users have apparently faced the same extremely frustrating situation. No notice, no logic, no chance to explain yourself or to get explanations. You wake up one morning and your page has vanished. That’s just what it is. “We have deleted your account, now deal with it.” Great.
I’ve tried to reach out to someone at Facebook. Anyone. I tried to send emails, I tried to find a phone number, I tried to fill the “online help” on their Facebook page. I either haven’t found how to reach them or if I did, I never got a reply from them. Never. When you try to get serious help, Facebook is a big black hole and all you are left with is confusion and frustration.
So my @MicheleGrenierPhoto page was “banned” a few months ago for some totally unknown, unfair and unexplainable reason. I’ve decided to start over again a brand new page (@MicheleGrenierPhoto2). Since then, I always walked on eggs because I never knew when whatever I was doing would be considered to be “unacceptable.”
Slowly but surely I build up again my account, getting back some of my previous followers and gaining new ones. (God only knows how long getting new likes and followers on Facebook takes — it’s a tedious job). I put in quality content, shared my favorite images, answered questions and got a community back. And then … BOOM. Facebook found my new page, claimed it to be recidivism and just SHUT IT DOWN for a second time. They claim the page violates their Community Standards. They offer me to appeal to their decision if I thought they made a mistake. Yeah, that’s so kind of them.
As I am writing this article, I have nothing left but my personal profile — the one meant for my friends and family. I, of course, appealed to their decision — just like I did the first time. The outcome will likely be the same, read dead silence.
*Just to make it clear: I’m a sports photographer. I share my favorite portraits, articles and links to my upcoming conferences and workshops. I mean, there’s absolutely no content on my page that is even close to disrespecting Facebook’s community policies.
These are just hypotheses because I frankly have no idea what the hell I did wrong.
1. My page was reported
That’s what a lot of people told me. “Someone reported your page!” OK great … so that would mean anyone who would want someone else’s page to be shut down would simply have to “report” it and then Facebook would automatically delete it? That doesn’t make a lot of sense to me …
2. AI technology
AI is everywhere and businesses as big as Facebook has obviously their own algorithms to help them catch undesirable content. A friend of mine suggested that Facebook’s AI would recognize skin in images and flag as inappropriate the ones who seem to have too much of it. As I am a sports photographer, I often take pictures of men in chest and women in sports top. At some point, Facebook AI might have thought “Oh, there’s a little too much skin for my algorithm, that should be nudity. Let’s ban this highly undesirable content.”
If I might add, between you and I, the $h!t I can witness when scrolling down my feed that isn’t nudity but obviously and purposely flirting with that fine line makes this situation even more ridiculous. We’re far away from Skylum’s AI technology, I’m telling you guys.
Moral of the story: Don’t build your house on the sand
OK, I won’t complain without providing a solution. To me, that’s absolutely clear: I’ll put my time energy into my website. Why would I keep on spending energy building back something that can (and will likely be) taken away from me at any time? I’ve been wanting to do a newsletter and start my own blog for a very long time. Perhaps this is a very loud and clear message to stop thinking and start acting.
Francis, a good friend of mine — and also a photographer — had his Facebook account deleted. For him, he was reaching out to his clients though several diverse platforms: Website, Twitter, LinkedIn, his blog, etc. Losing Facebook was indeed frustrating but not catastrophic. I strongly suggest — if you haven’t yet — not to rely solely on a Facebook page to grow your business and stay in touch with your clients. This situation might never happen to you … but you know the old saying: “Better safe than sorry!”
I’m not the kind of person who likes to complain. I sometimes take make bad decisions, I assume it and pay the price. I try to learn, grow and become better. But what happened in this situation, I simply don’t understand it.
If Facebook has also deleted your professional photographer’s account, have you been able to resolve the problem? If so, how have you done it? I’m welcoming any constructive suggestions. Perhaps your comment will help me also help a lot of other people as well. Thanks!
Lead photo includes work by Sebastian Herrmann and Con Karampelas on Unsplash