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!