Published Media Musings (31/5/13)
This week, three feminists took on Facebook and won.
With 1.11 billion users, and 50 million pages, the internet juggernaut were forced to make an apology and update their screening policy, after three women started a campaign against them. A round of applause, ladies, for Jaclyn Friedman from Women, Action & the Media (WAM!), Laura Bates, founder of the Everyday Sexism Project, and writer Soraya Chemaly.
What did Facebook do so wrong, you ask? Take a look. (Heed the warning. These photos are sickening and graphic.)
If they didn’t disgust you enough, this was Facebook’s initial reaction then someone tried to notify them of an offensive image.
So according to Facebook last week, rape isn’t hate speech, so it should not be blocked. As the title of the page suggests, laughing at a women being raped is “Offensive humour at its best”. Pages like “Raping babies cause your fucking fearless”, “Violently raping your friend just for laughs”, and pictures with “one-third of women are abused, two-thirds of men aren’t doing their jobs” took weeks and a change.org petition with 100,000 signatures to be banned by Facebook. Yet, Facebook bans pictures of breastfeeding – even a painting of the Virgin Mary breastfeeding Jesus, pictures of a cancer survivors mastectomy, a women standing next to a sign with her towns name “Effin”, even a blonde in a bathtub, who’s elbow kind of looks like her boob. There is more here, including a ban on a fat guys belly button, because it was ‘pornographic”.
After writing an open letter to Facebook, 60,000 tweets under #FBrape, and hundreds of thousands of signatures, these women decided to hit Facebook where they hurt – their advertisers. Facebook’s algorithms link users to things they link through their search history. If a user has a penchant for mobile phones and like a page concerning violence, a Samsung ad can pop up next to the “Kick a slut today” page. Some print screening later, 15 major corporations, including Nissan and American Express, pulled out of their advertising deals.
Of course, when anything even remotely political springs up in the media, those ignorant members of the american community wave their fists about screaming “First Amendment!”, claiming that it is a freedom of speech issue, calling it “Laddish banter“, and those who find it offensive, “just don’t have a sense of humour“. However, since Facebook is a company, they do not come under the constitution.
I believe Facebook and other sites should ONLY remove content when required to do so by law.They go way beyond that.
— Jillian C. York (@jilliancyork) May 29, 2013
Jillian C. York doesn’t believe Facebook should be able to determine what is ‘hate speech’ and what isn’t.
My opinion, who cares. Law or not, these things should not be tolerated.
For a great opinion piece on the topic, read Clementine Fords dailylife post.