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May 28 2013

#FBRape (Update)

Many of us came home from the Women in Secularism conference and worked to settle back into real life. Soraya Chemaly went home and launched an anti-rape, anti-domestic violence campaign with Women, Action & the Media (WAM). What are they working on?

Facebook has long allowed content endorsing violence against women. They claim that these pages fall under the “humor” part of their guidelines, or are expressions of “free speech.” But Facebook has proven willing to crack down on other forms of hate speech, including anti-Semitic, Islamophobic and homophobic speech, without claiming such exemptions.

When these pages are reported to Facebook as hate speech, Facebook says, “Oh, no. Those are humor pages. They stay up.” Facebook doesn’t do the same thing with pages that laugh about violence toward other demographics, but it does with those that laugh about beating, raping, and killing women.* Pages that put up content like this. (Don’t click through unless you’re sure you want to see that.) It leaves that while taking down pictures of babies breastfeeding and calling an ad highlighting the lack of link between abortion and breast cancer unacceptable “adult services” advertising.

Complaints about these uneven policies and processes made to Facebook have been ignored or the responses unhelpful. So what can be done short of closing your Facebook account and walking away from it? You can take action by talking to the advertisers whose products and services appear on those pages in support of WAM’s open letter calling for changes.

WAM have made this manageable. They’ve highlighted a few large advertisers, provided pictures of their ads in places they won’t want them, given one-click links for contacting those advertisers by Twitter, email, and Facebook. They are also tracking the status of various companies’ responses so you know, for example, whether to simply ask them to keep pressure on Facebook to change or whether you need to remind them that reporting isn’t enough when Facebook’s policy is to shrug off these complaints. All you have to do is click and go.

*Standard disclaimer about focusing on violence that targets women: Yes, men experience higher rates of violence in the U.S. than women do. Yes, I’d like to see that end too. However, men are not targeted for violence specifically because of their sex (for cissexual males), meaning that other factors than their sex have to be addressed to reduce that violence. Yes, I spend time and energy on those issues too.

Update: Hooray!

10 comments

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  1. 1
    Kevin

    It angers me that your disclaimer is somehow considered necessary.

    Someone who would make that kind of claim is not a normal human being. Don’t kowtow to them. They’re beneath contempt.

    Still angry.

  2. 2
    SallyStrange

    Facebook are also putting money into the Keystone XL pipeline project. Facebook: pro-violence, pro-rape, against leaving a functioning ecosystem for the next generation. Great.

  3. 3
    mildlymagnificent

    And yet another unknown “feature” on Facebook.

    Under current settings, Facebook users who are invited to join a group show up as members of that group and can then choose to leave.

    http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/political-news/facebook-headache-as-names-added-20130528-2n9n0.html

    So if you take a public stance on some issue or another, you have to be constantly alert for notifications that someone, anyone, has attached your name to groups opposed to that. Nice.

  4. 4
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Well, I don’t think I’ll open a facebook account in the near future. And I didn’t buy a Samsung mobile.
    But I guess that’s unacceptable for me to decide where my money goes because I care about violence against women while Samsung doesn’t.

  5. 5
    stever

    Yet another reason to be glad I stayed the hell off the Facebook bandwagon. My original reason was that I spotted their business model: “Tell us everything about your daily life, and we will aggregate and sort this information for sale to any spammer or snoop who meets our price.”

  6. 6
    Ichthyic

    Update: Hooray!

    yup. a small reminder that sometimes, public protest really does have an impact. Though, of course really what had the impact was the fact that advertisers were starting to bail.

    A lesson in and of itself, and a longstanding one: never rely on the empathy of someone you are trying to influence; always aim for their pocketbook first and foremost.

    this entire campaign was a longstanding one, and really only got any action after advertisers started jumping ship. Something since the IPO that Facebook is especially concerned about.

  7. 7
    Great American Satan

    I’m waiting for the Slymepit to denounce this horrible affront to Freeze Peach. I’m really expecting it, and I will find the resultant smackdowns from FTB types extra delicious.

  8. 8
    Cullen Tillotson

    I can’t stand that people (I won’t say men, I won’t even say boys – they’re male and that’s all I can say) would even find this stuff funny. It’s not funny. It’s not even on the horizon of humor.

    And YAAY indeed for the successful protest.

  9. 9
    Erin (formerly--formally?-- known as EEB)

    Wow, that disclaimer makes me sad. I know you have to make it, I understand why, but it still sucks that it’s necessary.

  10. 10
    Old At Heart

    Why am I not surprised that PETA made it on their list? I don’t know why, but as I was opening the link, I was saying “I bet PETA’s ‘packaged human meat’ ad campaign makes an appearance…”. It’s unfortunate that there were even worse examples amongst it, though.

    It’s good that FB seems to be responding to the advertisers bailing (like they’d ever respond to people complaining, hah! Facebook isn’t into the whole “consent” thing themselves, after all.) so at least that’s a minor victory.

  1. 11
    Around FtB » Pharyngula

    [...] Stephanie highlights the hypocrisy of facebook. [...]

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