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Stranger Than Fiction: Shubnum Khan’s Life as a Stock Photo

Onion TearsBooks LIVE member Shubnum Khan recently made a disturbing discovery – that images of her are being misused by over a dozen Facebook users, and in advertisements for everything from eye cream to a “Nice Muslim girl, looking for a good Muslim husband”.

“I’ve had had some bizarre things happen in my life but this has to top the list,” Khan told Books LIVE. She was first alerted to the misuse by a friend who saw someone else using Khan’s photo as their Facebook profile picture. Khan then used a Google image function that matches images online, and uncovered just how far the exploitation goes.

It beggars belief, but one Facebook user even uploaded a whole album of Khan’s photos, saying “This is my real pic, in my house”. Another asks: “Please don’t misuse my photo”!

Besides the private images of Khan, there is also “a stock photo that went viral that I hadn’t even properly realised I had signed away rights to”. This photo of her has been used in adverts for skin products, pro-immigration campaigns and even the Ministry of Sound night club.

Take a look at the Tumblr and read Khan’s tweets below:

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Recent comments:

  • Ben - Editor
    Ben - Editor
    July 25th, 2013 @14:14 #

    Gawd. How disturbing.

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Louis Greenberg</a>
    Louis Greenberg
    July 25th, 2013 @15:49 #

    Wow - bizarre. Well found, I suppose!

  • Shubnum
    July 25th, 2013 @15:54 #

    It's been a crazy journey. I initially found out about the first image from a friend in Canada who saw me in an immigration advert and asked if that was me. Interestingly, one thief has also taken this exact profile picture I use here on Books Live and used it in her/his album.

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Kelwyn Sole</a>
    Kelwyn Sole
    July 26th, 2013 @08:13 #

    Then there's the story of the biographer who didn't realise there were two poets with the same name - one Canadian, one South African - and produced a bio that used and mixed up elements/details of both their lives. I must say the composite poet that he produced had an interesting and productive life, and moved around the globe at a zippy pace....

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    July 26th, 2013 @21:48 #

    All those peppy, cheery, interesting faces you see in those diversity/hr/pr ads for companies or govts, etc. I always assumed they used models. Now we know they steal whatever they like off the internet.


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