Talek Nantes said it has taken her six years to build her travel brand using social media sites to advertise her blog, books and travel tours.
“It is my main source of income,” Nantes said.
But in February, her social media accounts were disabled.
“All of my customers, everything, my entire business life is in those accounts,” Nantes said.
Nantes said after placing an ad about train travel she got a message from Facebook stating her page was “unpublished” because her page goes against the site’s Community Standards on Child Sexual Exploitation.
Her Instagram account, which is also linked to her Facebook page, went down too.
“Is this going to just go up in smoke because of false accusation? The accusation is horrendous, it is worse than you have ever heard of,” Nantes said.
Responding to every consumer complaint
Nantes said she was given 30 days to appeal or she would lose her accounts. The process required her to confirm her identity by sending in proof of identification.
Nantes said with her pages listed under her pen name and her proof of identification in her legal name, her repeated attempts to appeal failed.
“I would wake up in the morning and the first thing that came into my mind was this heavy weight on my shoulders of desperation,” Nantes said.
She added without a way to contact Facebook directly, she started reaching out to anyone who would listen.
“I emailed my Congresswoman. I emailed all of my contacts seeing if they knew somebody at Facebook. I wrote to about 20 news outlets,” Nantes said.
“This happens to my clients all the time,” attorney Timothy Shields said.
Shields specializes in technology, data privacy, and social media law. He said there isn’t much creators can do when a platform shuts down their page.
“It is a very one-sided relationship and unfortunately, the content creator is on the losing end of that leverage,” Shields said.
He said there are steps you can take to lessen the blow if it happens to you. He suggests being on all platforms, to avoid linking accounts, and work to drive traffic to your own website.
In Nantes’ case, after we reached out to Facebook her accounts were restored. Though they are back up, she said she is still working to restore certain page privileges.
NBC 6 Responds asked Facebook if there was any insight they could give us as to why the initial ad was flagged, but they did not respond to that question.
There is also a feature for businesses to use to get extra support.