End gender based hate speech on Facebook
As regular WVoN readers will know, in 2011 we fought a hard campaign against rape jokes on Facebook.
The campaign went international and the outcome was a particular page being taken down after we contacted advertisers to warn them about what kind of pages their ads were appearing against.
However we did not win the war – Facebook simply informed users that if they marked content as humorous, pages featuring rape, domestic violence and pornographic images could stay up.
Since then, there have been numerous protests against Facebook’s questionable application of its terms and conditions, because these apparently allow all kinds of offensive and violent material against women to be published, but not pictures of breastfeeding.
The latest campaign is being run by the Women, Action and Media (WAM), an independent North American nonprofit dedicated to building a robust, effective, inclusive movement for gender justice in media.
The campaign, which WVoN enthusiastically supports, aims to end gender-based hate speech on Facebook.
An open letter demands that the monolithic organisation takes three specific actions:
1. Recognise speech that trivialises or glorifies violence against girls and women as hate speech and make a commitment that you will not tolerate this content.
2. Effectively train moderators to recognise and remove gender-based hate speech.
3. Effectively train moderators to understand how online harassment differently affects women and men, in part due to the real-world pandemic of violence against women.
Signed by over 40 organisations that promote women’s rights and/or campaign to end violence against women, the letter goes on:
‘Facebook’s response to the many thousands of complaints and calls to address these issues has been inadequate.
‘You have failed to make a public statement addressing the issue, respond to concerned users, or implement policies that would improve the situation.
‘You have also acted inconsistently with regards to your policy on banning images, in many cases refusing to remove offensive rape and domestic violence pictures when reported by members of the public, but deleting them as soon as journalists mention them in articles, which sends the strong message that you are more concerned with acting on a case-by-case basis to protect your reputation than effecting systemic change and taking a clear public stance against the dangerous tolerance of rape and domestic violence.”
To join the campaign:
– tweet specific companies who advertise on Facebook
– tweet other companies using the hashtag #FBrape
– send examples of offending pages, along with the actions you’ve taken to hold Facebook and its advertisers accountable, to firstname.lastname@example.org.