Facebook ‘rape page’ whitelisted and campaign goes global
I last wrote about the campaign against the Facebook page ‘You know shes playing hard to get when your chasing her down an alleyway’ on 1st October, and since then events have moved on quite significantly.
The extensive press coverage the campaign has received finally forced Facebook to ‘whitelist’ (strip advertising) from the page after Radio 1 Newsbeat and WVoN contacted advertisers whose ads appeared next to the rape ‘jokes’.
Newsbeat managed to get Sony, American Express and BlackBerry to demand that their ads be removed; and WVoN managed to get John Lewis, The White Room, Barclays, Groupon, Heinz, o2 and Pepsico to do the same and we credit these companies with recognising an offensive page when they see one.
John Lewis commented:
Unfortunately, we cannot control what pages people are viewing on Facebook. We do not display advertising on Facebook by selecting particular pages, instead the adverts target people using a range of factors such as demographic, location, interest, professional or educational history.
However, we take the issue of inappropriate content very seriously and have been reassured that this particular page no longer carries any advertising and we will continue to be in contact with Facebook to ensure this remains the case.
But Heinz responded that they had withdraw their advertising completely:
Facebook advertising was stopped on 20 September. Going forward we would not allow our advertising to appear alongside this sort of page.
One of the most disturbing aspects of Facebook’s intransigence (see all statements to date here) about this issue, apart from its support of rape culture, is the impact that accessing such pages could have on young people.
Given that the minimum Facebook age is 13, children can access pages that present rape as a joke. They can also access pages that advocate hate speech against numerous other groups, including pages that display hatred against specific ethnic groups.
In other words Facebook is allowing children to access content that parents are advised by the UK government to guard against:
‘The risks you need to be aware of [include]…your child seeing offensive images and messages’, which is also an issue that is being campaigned against by the SaferMedia campaign.
This concern is reflected by Mumsnet CEO, Justine Roberts:
Lots of Mumsnet users are very concerned about the existence of these Facebook ‘rape pages’, and are disappointed that Facebook has so far refused to take action against them, particularly since the site’s own terms and conditions allow 13-year-old children to read this material.
Joking about rape is really not like telling a fruity joke in a pub. It contributes to a culture of indifference towards the damage that this form of violence wreaks on all its victims, female and male, girls and boys. “
So, what next?
There is a culture jam planned for 24 October, I have written to my MP to express my concern, the National Council of Women in New Zealand are also contacting their Parliamentarians, RINJ are constantly targeting and boycotting advertisers on offensive pages, and there is a End Pro-Rape Facebook boycott planned on28 November.
However, we really need a famous person to front and support the campaign. Any ideas on who to approach would be greatly appreciated.
More updates to follow.