Kendall Jones, a college student from Texas, has been facing immense scrutiny from the anti-hunting community for images she recently posted to Facebook of legally harvested African game species. As of today, over 300,000 people have signed a petition to have Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg ban her from Facebook.
However, not everyone is calling for the removal of her image. In fact, hundreds of thousands of sportsmen have taken a stance to support Kendall and fight back.
One of those individuals is Kevin Paulson, CEO and Founder of HuntingLife.com.
HuntingLife.com, a website dedicated to sharing great news about hunting and the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation, was one of the first organizations to voice their support for Jones. The posts gained global attention, with a single post regarding Jones being viewed over 14.5 million times, generating 125,000 likes and 70,000 shares.
“Starting out, I had no idea what kind of firestorm I was getting myself into,” Paulson said in a recent interview with USSA staff. “I got a notification from them (Facebook) on the third of July stating I would have no access to my page for 24 hours due to a moose hunting photo.”
Paulson speculates that his company’s posts led to anti-hunters reporting content on his page as abusive and in violation of Facebook’s community standards. He interpreted the action as a “shot across the bow,” if you will, for his support of Jones.
30 hours later, Paulson was finally able to access his business page again, but his ability to do so was short-lived.
“Everything was fine for about five hours,” Paulson said. “Then, on the morning of July 5th, I got a notice saying that they had pulled Kendall’s photos. At that point, they said they would be shutting me down for three days.”
This morning, exactly three days after the incident, Paulson is still not able to fully access his page. In that time, Facebook pulled four additional photos from the page. These included photos of Jones with a lion and a leopard, a wolf hunting image from three months ago and another moose hunting image.
This isn’t the first time Paulson has had to deal with Facebook removing images from his business page. In the past, images of mountain lions, wolves, or any African species have usually led to some sort of report filed with Facebook.
It is also interesting to point out that most of the photos that draw scrutiny or get pulled are those depicting women hunters.
“What we have seen is most of the attacks on our page are toward women,” Paulson said. “I think they feel women are a more vulnerable target.”
Paulson went on to say that “What’s most frustrating about this is that Facebook won’t tell us specifically what they do not like about the photos.”
Paulson may be one step closer to getting an answer from Facebook.
According to an article released by Mashable on July 8, a Facebook spokesperson said “We remove reported content that promotes poaching of endangered species, the sale of animals for organized fight or content that includes extreme acts of animal abuse.”
Unfortunately, Facebook’s remarks are riddled with the same unintelligible jargon that dominates much of the media reporting on this same issue. None of the animals that Jones harvested were poached, none of them were endangered, and none of these animals were sold for organized fights. No U.S. state deems hunting as an act of animal abuse either. It is likely that holds true for hunting where it is allowed in Africa as well.
”I personally enjoy following HuntingLife on the web and on Facebook,” said Nick Pinizzotto, USSA president and CEO. “Kevin is an excellent spokesperson for our outdoor heritage, and unfortunately that has ultimately made him a target by those who oppose our way of life.”