Clémentine Schneidermann’s Instagram account had been playing up on and off for several months, but at the end of November, after posting a photograph taken in China – nothing controversial as far as she could tell – her page vanished. “My profile was completely gone this time. I couldn’t even log in,” the photographer says. An obstacle course of steps to retrieve her account ensued: she filled out forms, sent in images of herself to prove her identity, and reached out to Meta (formerly Facebook) via obscure email addresses.
“I chased them again and again and again and nothing happened. Weeks were passing by and I had this big project with Alexander McQueen that was released and I couldn’t share it. It was all very frustrating. I was waiting for this project to be released for a few years.”
Around Christmas, she was contacted by the company and eventually, after a few more hurdles, her account was reinstated. She’s still none the wiser about what rules her photograph had supposedly violated. All told, her profile had been taken down from the platform for around a month. “If you are relying on this for your business – which is not really my case; imagine restaurants or shops or anything really, and they have their accounts disabled for a month – it’s a really long time,” she says.
However, as a photographer she essentially is running a business, and promotion on social media – of projects such as the McQueen collaboration – is vital, not to mention the years she and others have spent building up audiences, only to potentially have to start again. “It just makes you feel really vulnerable against these huge platforms,” she says.
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