stopstealingphotos.com owner shuts down Facebook page, citing lack of support from Facebook, intimidation by trolls

Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by lex_jenkins, Apr 12, 2015.

  1. This weekend the owner of watchdog site stopstealingphotos.com announced she was closing her Facebook fan page due to two primary problems:
    1. Persistent abuse by a couple of trolls, including threats of extortion (of the "Stop doing this or we'll ruin your business" variety), and bombing consumer report sites with false criticism.
    2. Facebook's failure to properly support business professionals.
    The specifics leading up to this decision are too lengthy and complex to adequately summarize here (it's really ugly stuff), so I'd suggest reading the announcement on her website: "Why I Shut Down the Facebook Fan Page". Her website and Tumblr will continue.
    Long story short, if you're going to take an aggressive advocacy position, be prepared for some blowback, including very personal retaliatory attacks by toxic people who don't like being called out on their B.S. The more righteous your cause, the more likely you are to be attacked. Remember, trolls and jackasses actually thrive on bile and venom. It tans their hides, thickens their skulls, and makes them impervious to age and logic.
    And if you're a working pro depending on Facebook as a crucial part of your business strategy... think again. Facebook makes feeble gestures at wanting to attract more businesses to use the social media platform, but in reality provides zero professional support. Rather than first asking the accused whether there is another side to the accusations, Facebook's practice is to arbitrarily ban the accused based on user reports (spam, inappropriate content, other boilerplate and non-specific complaints). This is how trolls and extremist activists silence competitors on Facebook. It's always up to the accused to justify why they shouldn't be banned and why they should have their accounts restored.
    A serious social media platform would provide premium customer support to professionals, either for a direct fee or by other means of distinguishing individual users from professionals. Facebook still fails to be a serious social media platform for professionals. It's yet another example of how Facebook has failed to grasp the concept of monetizing virtual content and intellectual property in any coherent way, while Amazon manages to excel at grasping the symbiosis between physical products and virtual content. If you have a problem with Amazon, there's always an actual human being who is well informed to contact, and is particularly responsive to Prime subscribers.
     
  2. Thousand reasons of abandoning Facebook. I agree ! Never used it.
     
  3. It's not so much a reason to abandon Facebook (I work with businesses who leverage it to great effect in their community of customers and fans), but it's a reason to be realistic about what services and support Facebook does or does not realistically provide. Just about nothing you can do on Facebook can withstand the dedicated assault of passionate trolls, not if you want to allow visitors to interact with your business in that venue. Once the door is open, it's open, and tending to that environment starts to become a full time job for someone in the company. If you're a mom-and-pop sized company, you really have to be careful what you wish for. This is a cultural problem, not a technical one. There are technical ways to try to treat the symptoms, but crazy trolls are crazy trolls regardless.
     
  4. Thanks for the update Lex.
     
  5. While Facebook is used commercially by a lot of companies, I'd never use it as a major part of what I do. If you do you take a huge risk if someone takes a dislike to you. I'll only seriously use web services that I have direct control over (personal website, blog etc.).
    Facebook are out to make money and minimize problems for themselves. They're likely to be in a lot less trouble if they delete accounts they get complaints about than to leave them up after complaints have been received. There's no work and little risk deleting an account. There's lots of work investigating complaints and potential problems if they take no action and the complaint turns out to be justified.
    Pointing out crooks on the Internet can be a dangerous activity. Back in the "good old days", Don Wiss actually got telephone death threats when he pointed out scams being run by some internet camera stores - https://groups.google.com/forum/?hl=en#!topic/rec.photo.digital/NfP0FqsBctI
     
  6. I don't know about of the specific situations the were reported on and don't know what is true or not but, I am never surprised that people with extremely poor ethics to begin with lash out at those who expose them for what they are.
     
  7. I guess the toxic behavior of the trolls that forced the owner to shut down stopstealingphotos.com FB page makes Photo.net's Off Topic forum look pretty tame.
    I wonder how the mods here would handle that kind of abuse?
    I had to resort to rummaging around Disqus first discovered on my local radio station's website and got in the middle of a doozy of a 182 post discussion on Toyota recalls started over coverage of a typical role over accident on our local interstate...
    http://radionb.com/news/local-news/article22573/big-rig-rollover-i-35-late-tuesday-night-closes-highway-two-people-hospitalized-following-crash
    ...I couldn't tell who was giving truthful information, but these folks follow (stalk?) each other across multiple site's comment sections on posted articles that offer a fairly thin segue into their topic of interest to argue over.
    I've never run into this type of vitriol exchange on Facebook mainly because I don't hang out there. Thanks to Lex's story, I have another reason not to go there.
     
  8. I wish Pnet could have a forum devoted to posting the ''work'' of photo thieves. It would certainly stay busy. I guess there might be liability issues?

    Better yet, I wish law firms could afford to devote a part of their practice in going after the smaller image thieves, using a contingent fee arrangement. I have at least a half dozen photos (that I know of) being used by businesses and would love to be compensated. I have not pursued them because of the hassle and cost. We see other photographers post about it happening to them regularly here at Pnet.

    Here is a strange example of someone ''using'' another person's photo at FB that I came across yesterday. At a local FB news/media page, someone posted a photo of a bear on an island community in my area. Having lived here for 55 plus years and never seeing or hearing reports of a bear in my area or the island, I questioned the authenticity of the photo. Plus, the backdrop did not look like the area where the photo was supposedly taken. Of course, some of the community is now concerned that there is a bear loose in this small neighborhood.
    After a quick google image search, the photo immediately popped up, along with a sequence of images of the bear. The original photographer posted the photos in a blog back in 2012. The photo was taken in central Florida, while the imposter posted the same photo up here on the gulf coast, several hundred miles away.
     
  9. I think the problem the Facebook site owner had is that people who steal someone else's photographs are criminals. They don't respond nicely to adverse publicity. They act like criminals and attack anyone trying to stop them. The criminals have no rules.
     
  10. Most people who steal photos from the internet don't even know that they are breaking the law, think that if it is out there, it is free for all. 'If you don't want it pilfered, don't put it on display.'<br>A quite common attitude, reflected for instance in how many people regard privacy and what the public space/domain is. 'If you don't want me to look in, board up all your windows.'<br>That sort of thing. Generally: 'If i can grab it, and if someone has to be blamed for that, it's not me but you who gave me the opportunity to do so who is to blame'.<br>It goes beyond Facebook rules, is a socio-cultural problem.
     
  11. The watchdog site stopstealingphotos.com wasn't
    particularly concerned about the overall tendency
    to regard everything on the internet as public
    domain. Their specific mission was to identify
    photography businesses that claimed stolen photos
    as examples of their own work; and non-
    photography businesses that stole photos to
    promote their commercial interests.
     

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