Photographer suspended from Facebook for posting that he was “shooting a few Christians”

Jun 25, 2018

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Photographer suspended from Facebook for posting that he was “shooting a few Christians”

Jun 25, 2018

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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There are many words out there that have multiple meanings.  The word “pack”, for example, is both the collective noun for a group of wolves, and also what you do with your suitcases when you go on holiday. It seems, though, that nobody alerted Facebook to this particular quirk of the English language.

While many of us choose our words far more carefully these days than we might have in the past, “shoot” is a pretty common word in photographer vernacular. So while most of us realised what photographer Nicolas Chinardet means when he says he’s “shooting a few Christians”, Facebook thought he meant the other thing.

He was then promptly slapped with a 24 hour ban, and took to Twitter to let people know what was going on.

The suspension has since been lifted, and as Nicolas wrote in a status update on his Facebook profile, he had been commissioned by QX Magazine to take photos of a group of LGBT Christians at a church in central London, England. The images were to be used for a feature on Pride.

Naturally, when most photographers get an assignment they’re excited about, they post on social media. Nicolas isn’t the first to do this, and he certainly won’t be the last. I’ve done it myself, and often used the word “shoot” or “shooting” in the context of those posts.

This time, however, Facebook either didn’t understand or simply didn’t like his word choice.

Nicolas is quoted as having told The Mirror that “the annoying point in my view is that FB imposes bans without a right of appeal.”

That means there’s no way to explain yourself or inform them that they may have made a mistake. One could argue that Facebook is under no obligation to grant its users with such a right, but it does seem a little stupid.

One could also argue that photographers should choose their words more carefully when posting to a platform such as Facebook. “Somebody’s bound to take it the wrong way”, they’ll say. But 99% of the things we post to social media can be taken multiple ways, and if enough people see it, it’ll piss somebody off eventually.

The other side of the argument, of course, is that we shouldn’t have to. No matter what a word may suggest, what it means in context is what’s important.

Obviously, Nicolas didn’t mean whatever Facebook thought he meant. Facebook needs to learn to understand context. If this was an AI ban, then it clearly still needs a little more training. And if this was a human-implemented ban, they likely need a little more training, too.

And while not obligated, I do think there should be some kind of appeals process. But, this once again illustrates why you can’t depend on social media and websites that you don’t own yourself. They can disappear from you in an instant, with no warning, no real reason, and no recourse to get them back.

 

[via The Mirror]

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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12 responses to “Photographer suspended from Facebook for posting that he was “shooting a few Christians””

  1. Dunja Djudjic Avatar
    Dunja Djudjic

    I. Laughed. So. Hard! :D

    I don’t think it’s possible for Facebook’s filter to understand the context, but still, it is kinda ridiculous that he got banned.

  2. Marita Bird Avatar
    Marita Bird

    That just goes to show how FB (and other Social Media platforms) use Keyword algorithms to decide if a post is suitable or not! Most of the time there is little or no human involvement at all in making these decisions!!

  3. Marco Peixoto Avatar
    Marco Peixoto

    Well next time use the term Shooting Pictures or Simply say Taking pictures :)

  4. Tom Dahm Avatar
    Tom Dahm

    Ive been wrestling with the grammar of saying “shooting” vs. photographing or “working with” myself. Lets face it, shooting is terrible slang anyway…

    1. Michael Estwik Avatar
      Michael Estwik

      What? We photographers shoot people, then we frame them and at last we hang them high. ;-)

  5. Randy McKee Avatar
    Randy McKee

    Good thing the photographer didn’t take photos of muslims and use that phrase, they would be suspended for life.

  6. Steve Tracy Snaps Avatar
    Steve Tracy Snaps

    Taking snaps

  7. Dimitris Servis Avatar
    Dimitris Servis

    Shooting is a terrible word. Don’t use it.

    Let alone on LGBT christians which is controversial in its own right.

  8. Paul H Avatar
    Paul H

    I work for an Organisation that owns a substantial number of social houses that are often occupied by gangs etc. and these need to be revalued every year. Every March the professional value drives past the houses, stops at the curb and takes a few photos. Officially these are called “curbside inspections” as they do not enter the properties. The joke between the valuers and myself is we refer to these as “drive by shootings…with a camera” and it puts a smile on our faces, knowing that the other meaning could be the “occupation” of some of the tenants.

  9. DPJ Avatar
    DPJ

    Talk about great self marketing. He took something that meant very little, posted it to Twitter, it then gets picked up by some scummy rag tabloid, and it all of a sudden becomes headline news.

    I’m pretty sure there is far better stuff to write about right now, but apparently anything to do with FB is deemed as major news :(

    1. John HFH Avatar
      John HFH

      Nail on the head.

  10. suruha Avatar
    suruha

    There should be some recourse, as far as an explanation or disagreement that is valid, a person could take when something like this happens on any social media platform. Censorship is rife with misunderstandings!