Impersonators & Tribute acts have staged a protest outside Meta’s London HQ after having Facebook and Instagram profiles deleted because of rules banning people from impersonating others.
Dolly Parton, Freddie Mercury, and Adele impersonators were among those fighting the “unfair” moves, which they said were putting their livelihoods at risk.
“They are banning us,” said one act.
Meta told the BBC such performers (impersonators) were allowed but are required to make it clear they are not the actual star.
The real stars Britney Spears, Taylor Swift, and George Michael also joined the supergroup of impersonators & tribute acts outside the UK offices of the social media platforms’ parent company Meta this week.
Kelly O’Brien, who performs as Dolly as a nine-to-five job impersonator, told BBC Breakfast they were going to go straight to Meta “because we’ve had enough.”
“We started a campaign three months ago,” she explained. “We had a little bit of interest from Meta, promising that they would take care of all of our accounts.
“Some of us got our accounts back, but yet again we’ve been banned. It just keeps happening over and over and over.”
O’Brien said her impersonation act, The Dolly Show, had thousands of followers across Facebook and Instagram, but that her accounts were closed down last year.
She added: “It’s happening internationally, globally. And I get contacted daily from tribute acts all over the world saying, ‘Please help me. What can we do? This is my livelihood. This is my business. We want to spend money on this platform but Meta aren’t letting us. They’re banning us’.”
“Should I give up or should I just keep chasing Meta?” asked the Adele impersonator
Meta told the BBC it does allow tribute act impersonator Facebook pages and Instagram accounts, and it had not changed its policy to ban them, but some had been “wrongly removed”.
However, artists are required to make it clear in their bios that they are not the authentic individual or “speaking in the voice of” their chosen entertainer, it said.
A spokeswoman told BBC News: “We’ve always allowed tribute acts on Facebook and Instagram, and we know our platforms play an important role in helping these communities connect with fans.
“Our technology sometimes makes mistakes and we’ve reinstated a number of pages and accounts that were wrongly removed for impersonation.”
She added: “We understand how frustrating this can be, which is why we encourage tribute acts to make it clear in their bio or profile that they’re not the real individual.”
Madeleine Roberts, aka Shania Twain impersonator, has not been impressed much by what has been going on.
“You build up this following and it’s all just gone,” she told BBC Breakfast. “You can’t promote your shows, people can’t get in touch with you [who] come to see you.”
The entertainer, who has performed/impersonated as Shania for 24 years on and off, explained: “I’ve actually got two pages at the minute because one just came back [online] out of nowhere. So now I’ve used one for the bands that I work with as well as solo Shania.”
This is insanity! Once again, Meta (Facebook & Instagram) demonstrate that they have no real concerns about unlawful activity on their platforms, but attack others who are actually complying! SCARS has been the victim of Facebooks censors many times over the years. We understand only too well.
Meta will not remove most of the reported criminals impersonating real people, but they will remove entertainers & talent impersonators that can legally work at what they do!
Once again, Meta demonstrates that such platforms are incapable of making rational decisions about their own rules and community standards! This sreams the need for regulation and oversight!