#NotFunnyFacebook: Day of Action Against Facebook’s Rape-Joke Pages

About six weeks ago now, I blogged here about the proliferation of rape-joke pages on Facebook and the company’s refusal to remove them. Though Facebook has policies against hate-speech and threats of violence, a statement issued by Facebook to the BBC compared the rape humor to lewd pub jokes, stating: “Just as telling a rude joke won’t get you thrown out of your local pub, it won’t get you thrown off Facebook.” But activists are not backing down so easily.

Several major advertisers—including Sprint, Blackberry, and PBS—have already demanded that their ads be removed from any pages promoting rape and other forms of violence. Worldwide, petitions calling for the pages’ removal have received a total of over 200,000 signatures. Yet Facebook remains adamant that pages with titles such as, “Whats 10 inches and gets girls to have sex with me? my knife,” do not constitute hate speech.

That’s why the folks at Change.org have called for a day of action today, November 2, to turn up the pressure on Facebook. The call to action—distributed widely to bloggers and other feminist media—requests that supporters send repeated Twitter messages at Facebook including both the names of offending pages and a link to the Change.org petition, along with the tag #notfunnyfacebook.

A sample Tweet might read:

@facebook “Let’s have sex.. LOL jk i’m a rapist, were doing it wether you like or not” #notfunnyfacebook http://chn.ge/r9T2EV.

Activists are being requested to promote today’s campaign via any outlet available—including, of course, Facebook itself—in the hope of drawing enough public and media attention to convince Facebook to give in and remove the pages. So far, activists have been Tweeting up a storm. The petition, (which you can sign below), also calls for Facebook to update its terms of service in order to clarify specifically that any page condoning rape is a violation.

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While some who find the pages disgusting still argue that their deletion would be unreasonable censorship, it is worth pointing out that Facebook does routinely remove content it finds unacceptable, from anti-Semitic pages to photos of breastfeeding mothers. The question, in other words, is not whether Facebook is willing to engage in monitoring content, but rather what content is deemed serious enough to warrant action. And hopefully, this day of action will help convince the social media behemoth that sexual violence is, in fact, something worth taking seriously. To join in, send a #notfunnyfacebook Tweet of your own!

Comments

  1. Shahrazad says:

    This is absolutely unacceptable & indefensible. Grow a set, Mark & stop hiding behind freedom of speech” to line your pockets.

    • Sarah Lockely says:

      Grow a set of what exactly???? You don’t need a set of ‘balls’ (if that’s what you’re getting at) to accomplish something. Just a set of morals, values, determination, and hard work!! Peoples language in general needs to be checked!! Words and phrases like ‘pussy’, ‘rule of thumb’, ‘motherfucker’, ‘son of a bitch’, and so forth– definitely have an effect on our society’s rape culture! When you throw these phrases around its like watching too many violent movies and being numb to the message they present. Just saying.

      • Really? You’re the one assuming. She could’ve meant ovaries. We have a pair of those too, you know… and some of your examples are erroneous anyway if you’re trying to point out their misogyny seeing as some of their etymologies are unknown and the common definitions floating around are urban myths. Plus if true they are centuries old and have lost their original meaning as words do evolve.

      • Yes Sarah Lockely!I totally agree!I’ve been going over the “motherfucker” and “son of a bitch”things recently,so I’m glad someone else shares my thoughts.I disagree with Jessie.

        • Anne Huddleston says:

          “rule of thumb”?? I know how it is commonly used, but how is this a misogynistic phrase? Background please.

          • men back in the day used to be allowed to beat their women with a stick no wider than their thumb. that’s the rule of thumb. definitely misogynistic.

  2. Or, you know… people could just STOP USING FACEBOOK. There’s endless privacy invasion, personal information sold without explicit consent and hypocritical policies that will never end. Facebook isn’t a utility you can’t live without, it’s not the only social networking site out there, your friends won’t suddenly ignore you if you stop logging in. By still using this ethically bankrupt site, you’re telling Zuckerberg & Co., “By golly I’m riled, won’t you please make more money off of me while I yell into a deaf ear?”

    Set a damn precedent and stop supporting companies that do things you fundamentally disagree with.

  3. Rosemary Cate says:

    remove these horrible hate-spreading and dangerous pages.

  4. Anne Huddleston says:

    So let me get this straight. FB has banned sex offenders, regardless of the nature or severity of their crime, or if it even involved another person, supposedly to protect little girls from dangerous predators. But once those little girls grow up, all bets are off and they can be insulted and abused at will? The rhetoric goes that when sex offenders are exposed to images involving sexual activity they could crack and actually go out and DO what they look at. While this is an illogical argument, I don’t see why it isn’t applied to FB pages of this nature. The hypocrisy continues to boggle the mind.

  5. JanPattersonRN says:

    1) Wouldn’t the sample tweet be more effective properly spelled and punctuated? “whether” and “we’re”. Adding to the stereotype of the lower-class poorly-educated rapist probably doesn’t help make the point that FB needs to attend to this issue.

    2) Facebook & Mark Zuckerberg & Co. aren’t the only social media site out there, but as one of the biggest, they’ve an obligation to the community-at-large to set a higher standard of behaviour. @fyuzhn

    3) Agreed, language affects everything @Sarah

    4) Agreed @Anne

  6. Thanks for this great article.

    RINJ [Rape Is No Joke] Campaign is a group of men and women fighting with some of the nastiest misogynists who run power & greed empires that objectify women & children creating enormous traffic, large advertising revenues & huge (absurd) profits. RINJ Campaign is not a Victim Support Group although you may find a cathartic release working with us.

    Melanie
    http://www.facebook.com/rape.is.no.joke

  7. Why is Cheryl Sandburg so silent about this? She says she wants women to be leaders but she herself is showing no leadership on this issue. What is the use of having women leaders if they’re going to comply with the sexism in their organization? I want women leaders to make a feminist difference in their organizations.

  8. Teresa DiMeola says:

    While I have a lived a life as an ardent, non-silent, “radical” feminist – I still find your petition a tad questionable. For me it comes down to freedom of speech and while I do side with keeping known sexual preditors (for example) off Facebook as a matter of course, I have some problems with most other forms of global curtailment. I think the example of showing women nursing is a good one. Why on earth shouldn’t one be able to post pics of you nursing your child? The question is, where does one draw the line I suppose and frankly I find the example shown here, pretty innocuous. It’s clearly a joke, probably written by a young kid. If you really find it offensive (and I can only think you would do so if you believed that such a statement would seriously bring about more rape.

    What I find MUCH more offensive are Facebook pages that are blatantly anti-female. These are alive and well and do GREAT damage to women all over the world. Ex. 1: A site made exclusively to show how bad women drivers are – including many videos, a number of which don’t even show the driver! (These invariably start with “It MUST be a woman driver…”

    So I guess I am coming down on the side of entire sites devoted to such sentiments (including rape of course), but not with single, silly statements.

    Those of you who don’t take Facebook seriously, btw, and think these questions are trivial, should consider FB’s role in the “Arab Spring.” Much more important than getting irate on MS and dissing Facebook would be to become ACTIVE on Facebook for women’s rights.

    Respectfully,

    Teresa DiMeola – Engineer, computer Scientist, artist, mother, Brown belt and forever in the trenches for women’s rights.

  9. Teresa DiMeola says:

    Additional feedback: I clicked on the the link “petition text” and no more verbeage was added than originally shown. The original text is unclear and makes little sense. Are we asking to ban any sex comments/jokes of this nature or are we asking to take down hate sites that promote such behavior?

    I think this petition needs to be fleshed out and rewritten. If written in a way that is unambiguously targeting hate-sites (with examples – I’ll be glad to supply some), I would be happy to sign it. As it stands, I am frankly not sure what I am signing – and who is John Raines anyway? Do we still need a man to write our petitions for us?

    Thanks,

    Teresa DiMeola

  10. So, breastfeeding is considered to be offensive, but rape jokes aren’t?

    The reasoning of men is astounding!

  11. Margaret Sherwin says:

    I am currently creating a book about all the inappropriate sexist b.s. out there. This included.

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