Facebook Blocked my Photography Page in The 2021 Australian News Ban
The Australian government decided to introduce legislation forcing social media giants to pay for the news they aggregate and profit from. Google decided to toe-the-line but Facebook threw a tantie and blocked all news sharing on their website. Unfortunately, my photography page was caught in the cross-fire.
I created my Facebook photography page back in 2011 as a place to share the photographs I took. I had begun to alienate my Facebook friends by constantly posting images and so I decided to segregate them from my timeline and made a new page. I managed to build up a decent number of followers on the page, ticking on closet to 9,000 people. All I ever posted was my photography and the occasional link to a post on my website. This apparently was enough for me to be caught in the net of ‘official news organisations’ and my page was blocked.
Dead in the Water
The irony of the situation is that I have long counselled other photographers to focus on their own website and not place all the eggs in one basket. Facebook and other social media sites can and do change the rules at a moments notice and it’s unsafe and unwise to place all of your content on their website when you really have no control whatsoever over what happens to it.
Little did I know that when I argued for a website- first strategy I would provide the perfect example as to why you cannot trust these companies. My suggestion was that you place all of your content on your own website, which is under your full and complete control, and then you onward share that content onto social media.
If I had content to share, then I would firstly post on my photo page and then I would share a link back to that content that on my Facebook page. The idea of the process was to ensure that I was driving traffic to my website not to Mark Zuckerberg’s.
I remember being warned of taking this approach by some photographers who said that the reach of my links on Facebook would be severely limited because Facebook rewards people who upload content directly to their site. I knew they were right, and was never under any illusion as to what would happen but I still decided to place the focus on my website first.
None of this alters the fact that my photography page is not news-focused and I am not a news organisation. I do not understand how my page has been classified as such, since far and away the most common type of content I’ve shared is simply photography of one kind or another. It doesn’t seem like Facebook spent very long fine-tuning the algorithm they used to block pages and I’ve been caught up in the crossfire between this mighty social media giant and the Australian government
“Cor! Show us your tits!”
You’re the Product
As the saying goes if you can’t work out what the product is on a website then it’s probably you. I am under no illusions as to the level of my importance in the grand scheme of things. I am but a tiny cog in a massive machine. I’m a virtually unknown photographer operating a small website focused on the landscape of a regional part of Australia. My page does not get a huge number of visitors and I don’t have hundreds of thousands of people following my content.
It still feels like a kick in the teeth to be treated this way.