Dolly Parton tribute act back on her 9 to 5 after Meta ‘ban’ ends

By Claudia Redmond, BBC News

grey placeholderKelly O'Brien  Kelly O'Brien and Dolly Parton Kelly O’Brien

Kelly O’Brien was finding it hard to make a living when her Facebook and Instagram profiles were taken down

Protests held against Meta for deleting the profiles of tribute acts appear to have had a positive effect according to Kelly O’Brien, who performs as Dolly Parton.

In June last year she was joined by Freddie Mercury, George Michael, Britney, Taylor Swift, and Adele tribute acts to protest outside Meta’s London HQ after their Facebook and Instagram profiles were removed due to rules banning people from impersonating others.

Kelly O’Brien, whose profile was also deleted, told the BBC that many artists had been in touch to thank them and let them know how much the campaign helped.

Meta have said they have not changed their policies relating to tribute acts on Facebook and Instagram.

grey placeholderPA Tribute acts protesting outside Meta HQ LondonPA

Tribute acts protesting outside Meta HQ London in June 2023

Apart from being able to reestablish her profile, she believes the social media company has also made other changes.

“There is a general consensus across the tribute industry that Meta have changed their algorithms,” Kelly said.

“At the height of our campaign, I used to receive between 8-10 phone calls a week asking for help. That has now lowered considerably. When my platforms were taken down I was completely devastated that my long successful career was over.”

Meta said in a statement: “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.

“However, in all cases, we require the user to make it clear in their bio/subject elements that they are not the authentic individual/entity and are not ‘speaking in the voice of’ that individual/entity.”

grey placeholderPA Kelly O'Brien protesting outside Meta HQ in London PA

Kelly O’Brien protesting outside Meta HQ in London

O’Brien said the acts have been clear about their identity and work from the start and that is why they use the word “tribute”.

Her act, The Dolly Show, has thousands of followers across Facebook and Instagram.

“It is absolutely essential for us to maintain our presence on these platforms.

“We sell tickets and run advertisements on Facebook and Instagram, which keep us in touch with our audiences and fans.”

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