Facebook Says it Will Crack Down on Rape Joke Pages
May 30, 2013 Leave a comment
It’s about time. After much protest and boycott, Facebook has finally gotten the message. Facebook has said it will try to crack down on pages that include hate speech, particularly “gender-based hate.” There have been many protests against rape-based pages, but this latest campaign began on May 21, 2013 when Women, Action and the Media (WAM!) wrote an open letter to Facebook, demanding that they address the rape and violence references on the site.
They stated that, “Specifically, we are referring to groups, pages and images that explicitly condone or encourage rape or domestic violence or suggest that they are something to laugh or boast about,” the letter read. “Pages currently appearing on Facebook include Fly Kicking Sluts in the Uterus, Kicking your Girlfriend in the Fanny because she won’t make you a Sandwich, Violently Raping Your Friend Just for Laughs, Raping your Girlfriend and many, many more.”
After the letter was made pubic, 15 companies pulled their ads from the site. A Change.org petition was also created, which asked Facebook to remove all groups that promote sexual violence, and was signed by over 224,000 people.
Originally, Facebook stated that most of the content referenced by WAM! did not technically violate its current policies, according to ThinkProgress. A few days later Facebook then stated that,
In recent days, it has become clear that our systems to identify and remove hate speech have failed to work as effectively as we would like, particularly around issues of gender-based hate. In some cases, content is not being removed as quickly as we want. In other cases, content that should be removed has not been or has been evaluated using outdated criteria. We have been working over the past several months to improve our systems to respond to reports of violations, but the guidelines used by these systems have failed to capture all the content that violates our standards. We need to do better – and we will.
It’s unfortunate that Facebook will go to lengths to take down a photo of a mom breastfeeding her child within a day or two, but these pages are still up for the world to see. It is great to see them finally addressing these concerns.
“We are reaching an international tipping point in attitudes towards rape and violence against women,” WAM! executive director Jaclyn Friedman wrote. “We hope that this effort stands as a testament to the power of collaborative action.”