A tattoo artist in Birmingham said her business could collapse after Facebook blocked her business and private accounts and closed down her Instagram page – costing her thousands of pounds. Kat Douglas, who runs Katwalk Ink in Kings Norton, said she had been accused of posting three child nudity messages and 13 posts which went against ‘standards on dangerous individuals and organisations’, believed to refer to terrorist content.
But Kat said her private account had been hacked and the alleged posts were nothing to do with her. She is the sole administrator of her business Facebook and Instagram pages but said she had been locked out, with her Insta – owned by the same parent company – disappearing altogether.
Crucially, that meant she could not see or respond to messages, losing out on vital trade from her combined 6,000 followers and likes on the social media platforms. She estimated she had already lost out on £2,000-worth of bookings since she was alerted to the problem on Thursday, May 12.
And she said it was a double-whammy because Spring was among her busiest times of the year, while 80 per cent of her trade came from her online social media channels. Kat said she would be forced out of business unless the problem was fixed.
The Clent Hills, Worcestershire, resident said the last post she made on Facebook was of her dog. And the one before that was of photos from a holiday in Dubai.
The 44-year-old, who employs four staff and previously paid to advertise on the platforms, said: I am massively in the ***t and it is costing me a fortune.
“On May 12 I checked my Facebook for my business page and it said I had violated community standards with three posts with child nudity. I only use my Facebook account for personal posts.
“The last picture was of my dog in the bluebells. I use it quite a bit. Before that, it was holiday pictures from a Dubai trip. But it is usually always my dog.”
Kat said her account was completely private with the highest privacy settings. She said she had around 900 friends on it, many of them tattoo artists who would share ideas.
She added: “On my business page I posted tattoos we have done, designs we have available and whatever we posted there went on Instagram too. I set up two-stage authentication on Facebook and Instagram so I don’t know how this has happened.
“I then received a message saying 13 dangerous organisation posts had been made on Instagram. The only reason I found out was I had four customers not turn up and I went to check the messages and couldn’t.
“That cost me £200 in lost appointments. Around 80 per cent of my business is through social media.”
Kat has run Katwalk Ink for eight years and has been in the tattoo industry for 26 years. She said her Instagram had previously been hacked by someone trying to sell Bitcoin.
She said she received analytics from Facebook which showed visits to the page were down 26 per cent in days.
She said: “The most frustrating thing is they have made it impossible to contact them. You’re banging your head against a wall. I have created new accounts and been phoning anybody I know in IT.
“When I log back in I have a blank page. You go to help and support and it says: ‘You have made posts which go against our standards’.
“It says: ‘If you think we have made a mistake you can disagree with our decision’. But I’m locked out and can’t. I have tried to send my driver’s licence to prove who I am.”
She continued: “Facebook has a duty of care to its customers. I have lost £2,000 already.
“Usually we’d have 35 customers a week and in the last week we have had 12. I have people on there I have no other way of contacting. I’m losing sleep over this. My hair is falling out. I’m stressed about it. I’m risking losing my business.”
A PR firm acting on behalf of Facebook said: “We have raised this internally for the team at Meta (Facebook’s parent company) to review as soon as they can.”
Kat is the sixth person and third business to have been locked out by Facebook in recent weeks, over similar issues. Accusations are made of posts going against the social media giant’s community standards, accounts frozen, and in some cases they are shut off and disappear.
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