As many of you know, I created and currently moderate (with the help of four other awesome people, a Facebook page called, Guerrilla Feminism. From time to time, I receive messages from users linking me to misogynist/sexist/racist pages, asking that I post the link on the GF board, so that others may report it to Facebook. I've reported many a Facebook page, and not surprisingly, but still saddening, Facebook does not take action. A few of the Facebook pages I reported are: "RAPE is just sex that you didn't know you wanted," "12-year-old Sluts," and "RAPE is always fun." On one of these pages, the profile photo is of a young woman bound and gagged. I reported these to Facebook, and Facebook responded:
Thanks for your recent report of a potential violation on Facebook. After reviewing your report, we were not able to confirm that the specific page you reported violates Facebook's Statement of Rights and Responsibilities.
This response pissed me off--not just as survivor of sexual violence--but as a human being.
I looked up Facebook's "Community Standards" page, and here's what it says:
Violence & Threats: Safety is Facebook's top priority. You may not credibly threaten to harm others, or organize acts of real-world violence. We remove content and may escalate to law enforcement when we perceive a genuine risk of physical harm, or a direct threat to public safety. We also prohibit promoting, planning or celebrating any of your actions if they have, or could, result in financial harm to others, including theft and vandalism.
Bullying & Harassment: Facebook does not tolerate bullying or harassment. We allow users to speak freely on matters and people of public interest, but take action on all reports of abusive behavior directed at private individuals. Repeatedly targeting other users with unwanted friend requests or messages is a form of harassment.
Hate Speech: Facebook does not permit hate speech. While we encourage you to challenge ideas, institutions, events, and practices, it is a serious violation to attack a person based on their race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, disability or medical condition.
Graphic Content: People use Facebook share events through photos and videos. We understand that graphic imagery is a regular component of current events, but must balance the needs of diverse community. Sharing any graphic content for sadistic pleasure is prohibited.
Nudity & Pornography: Facebook has a strict policy against the sharing of pornographic content and imposes limitations on the display of nudity. At the same time, we aspire to respect people's right to share content of personal importance, whether those are photos of a sculpture like Michelangelo's David or family photos of a child breastfeeding.
If we go by Facebook's "Community Standards," it would seem that pages promoting rape (violence, hate speech, harassment, graphic content), would not be acceptable. So why is it ok? Why does there seem to be no rush on Facebook's end to remove these pages? The answer is simple: Free Speech.
I'm really tired of people prioritizing Free Speech over the safety and value of women and girls. Obviously, I can't stop people from saying what they want to say, or thinking what they want to think, but I would expect an international company like Facebook to apply its standards a little bit more in these situations. Creating Facebook pages that legitimately harm others should not be tolerated. Violence should not be condoned in ANY form--especially when it's directed at more than half of the population. Facebook needs to be held accountable. They need to take responsibility for their actions--or lack of actions. I don't know how they sleep at night.
If you would like to do something about this, I encourage you to sign this petition that has been going around: Facebook, Ban Misogynistic Pages, Even Those Labeled "Controversial Humor"
Maybe we'll get somewhere.