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#notfunnyfacebook: join the Twitter Day of Action

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Alex DiBranco
Senior organiser, women’s rights
Change.org

How’s your sense of humor? Do you find “Riding your Girlfriend softly, Cause you dont want to wake her up” funny?

Over 180,000 people say no — they’ve signed a petition on Change.org asking Facebook to remove this page and others like it, that promote rape and violence against women.

According to the petition, started by Change.org member John Raines, “Facebook’s own terms of service prohibit content that is ‘hateful, threatening,’ or contains ‘graphic or gratuitous violence’ … users are specifically barred from posting content that aims to ‘bully, intimidate, or harass’ any user.”

Raines asks Facebook to not only remove pages like “Kicking Sluts in the Vagina,” but also to release a statement clarifying that these pages violate the site’s existing standards and will be removed whenever reported.

He also asks them to update their terms of service to make these guidelines official and crystal clear.

Groups in Canada, the United Kingdom, and New Zealand have made similar demands, including WVoN’s own Rape: Never Funny campaign.

The continued existence of these kinds of pages isn’t a simple matter of Facebook being unaware of their existence. The site has explicitly refused to put a stop to them.

Facebook defends many of these pages as jokes: “It is very important to point out that what one person finds offensive, another can find entertaining – just as telling a rude joke won’t get you thrown out of your local pub, it won’t get you thrown off Facebook.”

Since the page supporting raping your girlfriend in her sleep hasn’t been removed, despite protests from almost 200,000 people, Facebook seems to have decided that this page is just “entertaining.”

If you don’t agree,  you can participate in a #notfunnyfacebook Twitter Day of Action this Wednesday, November 2.

Supporters are asked to tweet at Facebook using the hashtag #notfunnyfacebook to call attention to pages that have been marked by Change.org, WVoN and other campaigns as unacceptable, but which Facebook appears to find funny since it has failed to remove these pages.

At the end of this post is a list of suggested tweets that cite the names of these pages, in order to send the message to Facebook to stop using humour as an excuse for hate.

The titles of these pages speak for themselves, but the dialogue that occurs on their walls can be even more appalling.

The “Riding Your Girlfriend Softly” page’s admin “jokes” about drugging women: “Update from last night : Got to second base without so much as a murmor, one more sleeping tablet and may as well have had Travis Barker playing in the wardrobe, there wasn’t a hope we’d have a waker-upper before i had delivered my parcel!!!”

It also supports violence against women critical of the page: “She deserves a good back hander!” And threatens those who accurately call assault what it is: “to those of you who are sad enough to seriously say this is rape…….Sleep with one eye open!!”

You can sign the Change.org petition to Facebook here today and join in on Wednesday’s Twitter Day of Action by tweeting these suggestions:

.@facebook “Riding your Girlfriend softly, Cause you dont want to wake her up” #notfunnyfacebook http://chn.ge/szNQw0

.@facebook “Let’s have sex.. LOL jk i’m a rapist, were doing it wether you like or not” #notfunnyfacebook http://chn.ge/szNQw0

.@facebook “Kicking sluts in the vagina because its funny watching your foot disappear” #notfunnyfacebook http://chn.ge/szNQw0

.@facebook “1.5 Million ‘likes’ and I will rape my mom!” #notfunnyfacebook http://chn.ge/szNQw0

.@facebook “It’s Not Rape If You Yell Surprise” #notfunnyfacebook http://chn.ge/szNQw0

.@facebook “Whats 10 inches and gets girls to have sex with me? my knife” #notfunnyfacebook http://chn.ge/szNQw0

  1. RINJ Campaign will be wteeting links and opening up the F A C E B O K Hall Of Disgust which is a repository of links to horrible pages on FAcebook that advertisers are placing ads on but still promote sexual molestation of children and adults.

    RINJ Campaign Main Page:
    http://www.facebook.com/rape.is.no.joke

    Hall of Disgust
    http://www.facebook.com/Hall.of.disgust

    It is our intention to make it known to the world which advertisers are enjoining an objectification of women and children in a pro-rape internet culture on Facebook. We would like to boast about cooperating companies’ good will and respect for women and children’s rights in the area of exploitation and rape.

    Our many volunteers have collected hundreds of carefully recorded digital evidence exhibits using state-of-the-art gathering techniques and reporting.

    We seek the removal of content that condones sexual violence.
    We believe Facebook should provide the option to report pages and comments condoning sexual violence and remove such groups for being in breach of the user Terms and Conditions (FB Section 3: Safety, point 7), which specify that no hateful or threatening comments should be made.

    RINJ Campaign has proposed that Facebook has a capacity problem inasmuch as Facebook does not have enough staff to thoroughly monitor and delete content that presents a clear violation of their terms and conditions or even criminal codes (such as child porn). The RINJ (Rape Is No Joke) Campaign suggests FB implement editors — like Wikipedia editors — with power to monitor and delete/hide such content, since it will never have sufficient staff.

    Katie Alsop
    Oxfordshire

  2. Jane Da Vall says:

    Here is Aaron Sorkin, screenwriter of Social Network, answering the charge that his re-telling of Facebook’s early days was misogynous:

    “I was writing about a very angry and deeply misogynistic group of people. These aren’t the cuddly nerds we made movies about in the 80′s. They’re very angry that the cheerleader still wants to go out with the quarterback instead of the men (boys) who are running the universe right now.”

    That Facebook should find rape funny isn’t a big surprise.

  3. The assumption here that joking about rape in this manner actually encourages it, is a rather large one. How little faith in humanity does one need to have to believe that viewing these fan pages will actually lead to real life sexual abuse? No faith all, I would say. Not to mention accepting this sort of logic implies a complete lack of a grasp on reality. When I watch football, I have no urge to run out and tackle people. When I watch Breaking Bad I feel zero temptation to start cooking meth. And even if I find rape jokes funny, I would never imagine treating my sexual partner with anything less than utmost respect. The same goes for 99% of the population that does not already have deluded ideas about sex, drugs or violence.

    Facebook has succeeded as a site in large part because it allows absolute free speech and this is not the first time overly sensitive critics have banded together to limit it to protect their own prudish sensibilities. If this group does succeed in its attempts to censure, what kind of precedent will be set? A dangerous one, I say, which will allow any “offensive” material to be banned.

    Simply put, if you find this material so egregious that you would seek to limit another’s free speech to hide it, get off Facebook. It is obvious that you are not ready for social media and I, personally am left wondering how you even cope in the real world.

    • Facebook does not allow “absolute free speech”. It took down a page on breastfeeding sooner than you can say “milk” because of complaints that some people found it offensive. In any event, there is no such thing as “absolute free speech” in any society. We are constantly balancing out the right to free speech with what is acceptable in a society, as Jem has pointed out. If you want a culture that endorses a rape culture, then by all means support Facebook in its refusal to take down these pages. Personally, I don’t.

    • vicki wharton says:

      Joe, I am a rape survivor, twice over. Once when I was 14, and then again when I was 15. The four boys that raped me when I was 14 at a friend’s party, giggled throughout the whole attack. They thought what they were doing was a joke … because it was to them. That is why rape jokes aren’t acceptable, because rape shouldn’t be acceptable, to anyone, male or female. There is a very worrying trend amongst young men in particular, to suggest that they have the right to do anything they want in the name of their freedom. But your freedom steps on mine when it comes to rape – my freedom not to feel surrounded by men like you that think rape is funny or who actually do rape. Because, believe it or not, the four boys that raped me when I was 14 and the work colleague that raped me the following year, didn’t even recognise what they were doing was wrong – they were just having a laugh, like way more than 1% of the male population do at women’s and girls expense every day of the year.

  4. People talk a lot about ‘freedom of speech’ as though that somehow trumps all else in this discussion. I’ll ask you this, Joe, do you, personally and honestly, think that it is somehow essential, somehow necessary, somehow important to the quality of life of these people to make light of hurting and humiliating other people?

    All societies and cultures have rules for ‘acceptable’ behaviour. Most, for example, say murder is ‘wrong’. That too effects an individuals right to do as they see fit. Yet we recognise that this is a minor price to pay for social order.

    I believe the same is at work here. Hate speech serves no positive purpose, all the more when it’s done anonymously with no fear of personal repercussions. Banning it does indeed infringe on individual rights, but I think that is an acceptable pay-off.

    Of course we have to police this, make sure it doesn’t go too far the other way. But think of it as a sliding scale. Just because one end or the other is not where we want to be, does not mean that around the middle isn’t worth striving for.

    By saying “We don’t want a society that thinks rape is something to joke about” I don’t think we’re setting anything other than a mature and civilised precedent.

  5. Jane Da Vall says:

    Joe,
    The point is that if you make jokes about rape, there are people that understand that to mean rape is not serious and so is something they can do without getting into trouble. We know this is how some people think because the reasons why criminals commit crime have been studied for many years.  Studies have shown that trivialising rape encourages it.  To acknowledge that is not a lack of faith in humanity. It is an understanding that humanity includes rapists.

    My faith in humanity is greater than yours. I believe that very much more than 99% of people would not become rapists because they hear a rape joke. Some people do though. The question is then, which of these is worse? 1. Nobody is allowed to tell jokes about rape on facebook or 2. Some people are raped.  

    Does your answer depend on how many people are raped? How many rapes is the right to tell jokes about rape worth to you?

    It is a silly question. You might even find it offensive. But you have answered it already. You said “99% of the population” would not be influenced to rape someone on hearing a rape joke. If only 1% would, then, by your standards, rape jokes should not only be allowed, to suggest otherwise demonstrates a total lack of faith in humanity.  

    There are 800 million facebook users. The right to tell a joke about rape is worth 8 million people suffering rape to you. Why am I talking to someone like you?

  6. Joe – the point you are making is at the expense of women who have to suffer in a rape culture, which is perpetuated by rape jokes, every day of their lives. Also, the comment you made below: does this apply to children as young as 13? Or are you happy for them to be exposed to rape jokes too? Perhaps you should talk to your partner about this and ask her how many women she knows who have been raped and would not find rape funny at all – you may be unpleasantly surprised by the answer.

    ‘Simply put, if you find this material so egregious that you would seek to limit another’s free speech to hide it, get off Facebook. It is obvious that you are not ready for social media and I, personally am left wondering how you even cope in the real world.’

  7. Thank you to those among you who have addressed my actual arguments. This response is for you.
    Unfortunately many of the links between immoral violent and sexual behavior and exposure to such behavior in media and culture in general seem to be accepted by you without question. Unfortunately these idea simply do not hold up under any sort of scientific scrutiny.
    Read this: http://www.physorg.com/news5758.html
    Or perhaps watch this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LWr4htYp9dM
    The sad reality of our culture is that we are all too ready to elect politicians who practice “vote-grabbing” by taking up leadership of win-win, no political cost issues. Who is more likely to get elected, the politician who defends the ability of a pornographer to produce simulated rape films or the politician who wants to “protect our daughters” by banning the “smut”? Obviously the latter. And without doubt he wouldn’t even need to bare proof that what’s he’s banning is actually harmful.
    Imagine though, for the sake of my argument, that there was in reality no meaningful link between watching this material and engaging in violent sexual behavior. In that case, the pornographer’s rights are being trampled for no reason.
    To Jane: Would banning these pages meaningfully reduce incidences of rape in this country? Of course not, because FB is far from the only place in popular culture where these types of jokes are reflected. What extra measures would you take to erase these jokes from our culture? Would you support a government agency that polices popular media to weed them out? Perhaps public schools should start defining for children what an acceptable sense of humor is?
    If you want to reduce rape in this country, perhaps we should work towards a culture where women make smarter choices to avoid rape. As a college student I am surrounded by young women who repeatedly make risky decisions in who they choose to sleep with. These acts are not only accepted in youth culture but they are encouraged! There is even a state funded student “feminist” group on campus that heralds the benefits of sexual relationships based solely on pleasure without making the slightest mention of perhaps first finding an emotional connection with your partner.
    I suppose I’m ranting a bit, but to conclude before I stray too much, it simply does not make sense for private sites to start banning things until a concrete link between increased rape actually results from these jokes. Until then I err on the side of non-hysteria and personal choice.

    • vicki wharton says:

      So you think its women that are to blame for their own rape Joe? And you cite a couple of pieces of scientific research – one an entertainment segway on Youtube and the next an article on a website that refers to research that it admits flys in the face of most previous research – that back up your laughable stance. The affect of media on what the population believes and understands of the world around it is a well documented phenomenonon which is why Government is meant to ensure that media owners are people of social responsibility – or for the very very slow amongst us – that they are not people that will do bad things in society for their own personal greed for money or power. I worked in the PR industry for 25 years, using media to change public opinion on a number of issues from drink driving to smoking. Grow up Joe. The porn industry is currently working very hard to make rape the victim’s responsibility, leaving it as a non crime with no real victim and therefore no perpetrator. The Nazis used media to do exactly the same to make attacking Jews socially acceptable in the early 30s and the same happened in Russia in the 1800s via pogroms and Rwanda and Bosnia more recently. The fact that the internet operates outside the law is dangerous, as those laws have grown up out of hard won experience, it took 6 million to die in Europe before people began to recognise the mechanics of genocide and the utilisation of the media to incite hatred of a race, or in our case, gender of people. Or is world history and proven cause and effect in psychology too complicated a subject to make a 5 minute segway to post on Youtube which seems to be the extent of your research.

    • I can’t help but notice, Joe, that you don’t actually address any of the arguments that have been put forward to you. Pots and kettles spring to mind!

  8. Jane Da Vall says:

    Thanks for stopping by to chat, Joe. Enjoy that wifi connection and keep teaching the people.

  9. I did not say it’s only the woman’s fault if rape occurs. However our current society does little to condemn risky behavior that leads to increased chances of being victimized. Thank you for twisting my words.

    http://www.jpeds.com/article/S0022-3476(08)01037-8/abstract Perhaps, the journal of Pediatrics is not legitimate enough for all of you?

    Also despite this increasingly violent “rape culture” you all speak of with such disdain, rape has been on the decline for DECADES.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/06/18/AR2006061800610.html
    Even though access to pornography has increased!
    http://anthonydamato.law.northwestern.edu/Adobefiles/porn.pdf

    Government agencies that do very little of their own genuine research are all too ready to tell us that the link between violence and media has been held up by thousands of studies while only a few hundred directly dedicated to the issue have ever even been carried out (a relatively small number)! Less than half of them have demonstrated any link between violent behavior and media and even fewer indicated that this link is strong enough to represent a risk to public health.

    Do I even need to mention that violent crime in the United States has fallen enormously since the early 90′s despite the increased amount of violence present in films and on TV?
    Your positions simply are untenable.

    • vicki wharton says:

      No Joe, you don’t come right out and say that rape is only down to the women, but in the paragraph when you examine the causes of rape, its only women’s behaviour you put under the microscrope – you don’t even mention the behaviour and responsibilities of the perpetrator – so you do appear to be purely holding the woman liable for her own assault since it is only her behaviour you cross examine. 20 years ago when I was attacked, 1 in 4 rapes were reported, that figure is down to 1 in 10 currently. Last year, 15,400 women reported being raped. If only 1 in 10 is being reported, even basic maths works out that 154,000 rapes happen a year, of which 600 led to a conviction. In the UK, most people, male and female do not even recognise what rape is. Every trafficked woman or girl that is made to perform sex on punters is a rape victim 10 or 15 times a day, every girl that is pressured by a boyfriend into having sex by sulking, aggression or persistent nagging or threats to leave her is a rape victim, every girl that is fed alcohol, LSD, rhohipnol or marijuanah to leave her incapicitated and unable to walk away/fight back is a rape victim. Successive Governments have claimed many things on behalf of big business over the years: that asbestos doesn’t kill people, that smoking doesn’t kill people, that mad cow disease didn’t exist, that Thalydemide and DTT is safe. Most media owners such as Murdoch also run porn channels. Do you really think they are going to report any of the numerous studies there are that show a definite link between porn and sexual aggression? Likewise with violent crime. In the UK we have a previously unseen spate of violent killings by children on children. No research is done because the only people with enough money to do the research have no interest in proving a link between what they sell and what happens on the streets amongst young, predominantly black boys. It was only when the Government was persuaded to do research into the correlation between smokers and lung disease was any link finally proven, and the Government still hasn’t had the will to pull what is in effect selling poison to children since that is when most people start smoking. Too much money, too little morals.

    • Jane Da Vall says:

      Did you ever see a more dishonest opening paragraph than this from Joe’s Washington Post article?:

      “The number of rapes per capita in the United States has plunged by more than 85 percent since the 1970s, and reported rape fell last year even while other violent offenses increased, according to federal crime data”

      Really? They say rape dropped 85% while other violent crimes increased?

      No. They say rape dropped 85% since the 1970s. Other violent crimes increased last year.

      Nice try, Joe.

      Really? Rape dropped 85% while

    • Joe, perhaps you only read the headline in the Washington Post article you linked, as that does not support your argument to any significant degree. It’s full of caveats about the difficulty of getting accurate data on this subject.

      I think you (and probably everyone else on this thread) may find this article interesting. http://www.ministryoftruth.me.uk/2010/11/29/rape-statistics-what-can-we-rely-on/

      UK figures I’m afraid, but I think the key points remain valid for most western cultures.

  10. I think a course in basic statistics would be useful here. The Physorg article is full of caveats though, so you shouldn’t need one to see that it doesn’t back up your claims. No one here is saying that there is a very strong link. We are talking about a culture. To say that there is no connection is to say that we are not affected by what we experience.
    If rape has decreased, great, lets keep that decreasing, but lower rape rates doesn’t mean rape jokes are harmless.
    And yes, we do actually police our children to some extent. It’s called upbringing. While I am always wary the slippery slope, i think public schools defining humour is a far cry from asking facebook to remove a page.
    An individual making a rape joke is one thing. Anonymously posting it on a site with millions of readers is quite different. That is why we are worried.
    Also, we are not talking about a law. We are talking about influencing a private site that has a code of conduct.

    Lastly, David has a good comment about this on another thread. http://www.womensviewsonnews.org/2011/11/rape-jokes-the-new-black/

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