LUBBOCK, Tex. (CBS Houston) – Facebook removed photos from Texas Tech cheerleader Kendall Jones’ account because they said she violated their terms of service.
Facebook ruled the pictures broke its graphic content rule as stated in the Facebook Community Standards. It states that pictures should not be “graphic images shared for sadistic effect or to celebrate or glorify violence.”
Jones, a hunter since she was 9, posted photos of animals she hunted in Africa.
“As badly as I wanted to shoot something, I was just too small to hold the guns my dad had brought,” Jones shared on her Facebook page.
Jones shot a white rhino, her first kill, when she was 13 during her second trip to Africa.
“Although I had many other opportunities to shoot animals I wanted to save it for the Big 5, so the first animal I ever shot was a White Rhino with a .416 Remington!! On this trip I also took some plains game, such as impala, kudu and mountain reedbuck home,” she wrote on her Facebook page.
An online petition demanded Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg removed the pictures received over 325,000 signatures.
“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,” a Facebook spokesperson told Mashable. “The number of reports does not influence whether a piece of content is removed.”
The spokesperson added that not all photos are automatically removed. “Certain content, which some may find offensive, can be used to spread awareness, and we welcome dialogue about animal abuse, hunting, and other animal-right issues,” the spokesperson stated.
Now, Facebook is coming under fire from hunting advocates and gun-rights supporters because they removed the photos.
Jones says on her Facebook bio that “safari hunting is socially responsible, since the money it brings in helps conservation efforts.”
The white rhino has recovered from “near extinction” due to conservation efforts. The latest population is over 20,000, with the vast majority living in South Africa; however poaching of the iconic species is dramatically increasing, according to Save the Rhino International.
Jones will star in a reality show beginning January 2015 on the Sportsman Channel.