#FBrape Campaign Takes on Facebook Misogyny and Wins!

5684115572_55bc83414fCongrats to Women, Action, and the Media and The Everyday Sexism Project for harnessing the power of social media to bring about positive change in well, social media. More than 60,000 tweets and 5,000 emails later, the spirited campaign that revolved around the #FBrape hashtag resulted in Facebook admitting that it has failed to remove content that promotes gender-based violence. The company has now agreed to drastically revamp what it considered gender-based hate speech.

It was only a little more than a week ago that a coalition of about 100 women’s rights and social justice groups, spearheaded by Jaclyn Friedman of WAM!, decided to do something about Facebook content that promotes or makes a joke of rape and other forms of violence against women. They urged Facebook users to contact the companies that had advertisements appearing alongside offensive content and to contact Facebook directly about policing such content. Says Laura Bates, founder of The Everyday Sexism Project,

We have been inspired and moved beyond expression by the outpouring of energy, creativity and support for this campaign from communities, companies and individuals around the world. It is a testament to the strength of public feeling behind these issues.

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In the social media platform that now boasts more than one billion users, one doesn’t have to search hard to find fan pages, timeline photos and Internet memes that treat gender-based assault as a punchline. Groups with offensive and misogynist names such as “Hope you have pet insurance because I’m about to destroy your pussy” or “Raping a pregnant bitch and telling your friends you had a threesome” are numerous and serve to normalize violence against women. Besides releasing a statement that it would update its user guidelines and moderate gender-based hate speech more closely, Facebook also invited WAM! and The Everyday Sexism Project to provide  input on how its new Community Standards should look.

Kudos to both the activists and Facebook for moving forward together to ensure women feel safer in digital spaces! Said a very pleased Jaclyn Friedman,

We are reaching an international tipping point in attitudes towards rape and violence against women. We hope that this effort stands as a testament to the power of collaborative action.

Photos courtesy of Everyday Sexism and Sean MacEntee via Creative Commons 2.0.

 

Comments

  1. William L. Turner says:

    Groups which advocate for violence in general should be severely restricted. But “rape jokes” groups? That is an unjustified censoring of otherwise lawful but distasteful humour. Facebook allows equally contentious jokes about other groups, such as racists jokes and even jokes about the Holocaust. I am a fan of gallows humour. Not even a half hour after CNN announced pressure cookers were used to deliver the bombs in the Boston Marathon bombing, I created a facebook group jokingly calling for “Pressure Cooker Control” (For non Americans, it is a parody of the contemporary movement for enhanced gun control in the face of numerous recent acts of gun violence). Like Family Guy, facebook seems to be open to equal opportunity offending. So if we are going to start censoring groups which are “insensitive” to women, we need to be fair and censor groups which offend any other identifiable groups. Welcome to Canada!

    • tired of dudes says:

      Spoken just like a dude who will almost certainly never have to fear rape in his everyday life, nor being blamed for it should it happen to him. Oh, and unless the government’s doing it, it’s not “censorship.”

    • Rape IS violence, a very, very brutal form of violence that terrifies, humiliates, incapacitates the survivor. S/he (would you say it’s bad “humor” if it happened to a male?) experiences the after effects for a long time after, if not for the rest of her life. Rape is NOT gallows humor. No body takes seriously controlling “pressure cookers,” but there are men out there, a small group, thankfully, that rape for a living. There is absolutely nothing funny about it. And in this country, where a female is raped EVERY TWO MINUTES, the number of rapes per year 207,754. http://www.rainn.org/statistics

      Now that you know a little bit about the rape culture (which your comment adds to) in this country, wouldn’t you now include rape among the “violence in general” that should be “severely restricted” (whatever that means)? Welcome to the United States!

    • Robyn Jane says:

      Perhaps if you were part of a group that is at constant risk for rape you might feel differently about the subject. Women live in constant fear of sexual assault. We live in a culture where the first response to rape is “What did she do to deserve it? What was she wearing? Where was she? Was she drunk?” Victims of any violence rarely see any humor in what happened to them. I wonder, William, would you feel the same if someone to a broomstick and raped you with it? Or if a man who was bigger and stronger than you were to assault you, overpower you, and then rape you anally? This isn’t about censoring offensive speech: this is a strong message against a rape-friendly culture, and those who refuse to take it seriously.

    • “Groups which advocate for violence in general should be severely restricted. But “rape jokes” groups” is an “an unjustified censoring of otherwise lawful but distasteful humour.”

      So it’s NOT OK to advocate for violence in general, but it IS OK to advocate for violence against women?

      OMG WTF & HUH?

      This not about being “insensitive.” It’s about promoting and legitimizing violence against women:

      http://amazingsusansblog.wordpress.com/2013/05/28/yes-facebook-it-is-graphic-violence/

      And I would choose Canada a gazillion times over the USA any day of the week

      Finally, on the subject of gun control, I offer the following “gallows humour:”

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N0Wn3Eey6dY

    • Gallows humor…..hmmmm. One can only hope that rapists will fall under the gallows:)

    • William, I understand where you are coming from when you say we should not be looking just at one group. People can say what ever they want online but is it morally right to say such horrific things or not?? A lot of people are standing up against different causes. Someone might have a blog about the stupid page you created. This one is to show the harmful realizations about raping women. I believe we should really put an end to all these degrading pages. Starting with this one about women.

  2. like

  3. Anyone want to take on youtube comments now? SO much hate there, much of it sexist and racist.

  4. Desiree says:

    As carefully worded as their statement was and as many times as they’ve left up such pages I’ve reported or told me that I was in danger of having *my* account suspended for “false reports”, I’ll save the celebration for when I see actions. This could just be a face saving effort on their part, after all, the TOS does supposedly make this stuff against their own rules and when the fight went public it made advertisers uncomfortable. If it’s just face saving, it may or may not go anywhere – and face saving statements often don’t result in actions beyond a little window dressing. That said, I hope my inner cynic is wrong and they meant it.

    • I agree with Desiree, of course this is just window dressing.Meaningless terms such a ‘gender violence’ and ‘violence against women’ tell us nothing about who’s doing what to whom.How can any organisation purporting to tackle the pandemic of male violence against women and girls progress without naming the perpetrators- men. When the sex of the perpetrator is not identified male violence against women is constituted as a problem of women.
      What is happening here when women identifying the facts of male violence against women are threat ed with account suspendsion because of ‘false reports’? How is it that a self-defined feminist group are silencing women?’ There is no comparison between misogyny -male hatred of women and evidencing the facts on men’s violence against women.The tactics which hide men’s accountibility are nothing new.

    • Typos correction
      I agree with Desiree, of course this is just window dressing.Meaningless terms such a ‘gender violence’ and ‘violence against women’ tell us nothing about who’s doing what to whom.How can any organisation purporting to tackle the pandemic of male violence against women and girls progress without naming the perpetrators- men. When the sex of the perpetrator is not identified male violence against women is constituted as a problem of women.
      What is happening here when women identifying the facts of male violence against women are threat ed with account suspendsion because of ‘false reports’? How is it that a self-defined feminist group are silencing women?’ There is no comparison between misogyny -male hatred of women and evidencing the facts on men’s violence against women.The tactics which hide men’s accountibility are nothing new.

    • If they don’t do anything, we’ll keep hounding them. I think they will get it together, after all, MONEY is at stake.

    • Robyn Jane says:

      Facebook only decided to do something about this issue when they started losing advertisers because of it. Like you, Desiree, I will believe it when I see it. My own daughter was raped–twice–so perhaps I am a bit overly-sensitive to the issue, but I don’t think I am. I don’t want to live in a society where a plague of violence like this is considered to be raw material for jokes. Perhaps if more men had to live with the constant fear of sexual assault (50% of all women living in the United States will be sexually assaulted by the time they are 17), they’d understand why we fail to see the humor in the subject.

    • 100% with you!

  5. Dawn Sheggeby says:

    I applaud this action – and wanted to bring attention to this excellent op-ed piece for the Seattle Times written recently by an extremely smart 17-year-old I am lucky enough to know:

    The rise of sexism and misogyny in a Facebook era: Social media has morphed sexism and misogyny into a cruel and powerful beast, writes guest columnist Grace Gedye.
    http://seattletimes.com/html/opinion/2020793295_gracegedyeopedxml.html

  6. The admin of an Australian feminist page Destroy the Joint was locked out for sharing the meme pictured above. The reason Facebook gave was “abusive content”. In the case of Facebook it is say one thing and do another. I wouldn’t praise them too soon

  7. Agree with Desiree men always claim ‘we are going to change matters so that male hatred/male contempt for women is no longer allowed but this is always ‘window dressing.’ Looks good sounds good but is not worth the paper it was written on!’

    Don’t believe men’s lies because proof is in how this will be enacted: will it be ‘like with like’ wherein if males are not routinely subjected to hatred and contempt because they are male then male hatred/male contempt for women is a ‘non-issue.’ Who will monitor Facebook? I’ve no doubt it will be males and women who promote and accept male myopic views of what supposedly does and does not constitute ‘male hatred/male contempt for women.’ So will expect Facebook to continue to be ‘littered’ with males attempting to outdo each other in publishing the worst women-hating sexually degrading comments they can create. Oh but it is ‘just lawful and distasteful humour!’ Because if men aren’t the ones being sexually degraded and dehumanised then said issue is non-existent!

    Remember men are the ones continuing to cling tightly to their socio-economic power so don’t be surprised to discover Facebook has surprise surprise, ‘missed certain misogynistic/male created women hating comments posted on Facebook sites.’ Profit is Facebook’s mantra and allowing innumerable males to engage in that oh so humorous male right to publicly sexually degrade and dehumanise women and girls always garners Facebook enormous profits.

    Note to William Turner – your comments are typical male myopia because you refuse to recognise women comprise majority of human species so therefore claiming ‘lawful but distasteful humour’ is what male women haters are engaging in proves you deny women’s reality of having to live in a world men dominate and wherein males see nothing wrong in posting women-hating messages.

    Reason why pandemic male hatred/male contempt for women is not ‘unlawful’ is because males are not the ones being dehumanised. No male has ever been oppressed because his sex is male which explains why men refuse to pass legislation making male hatred/male contempt for women illegal.

  8. Excellent! Thank you for sharing. She’s absolutely right, and you are lucky to know her.

    She mentions being the first generation being brought up in this era of social media. I was among the first generation being brought up under a very powerful brand new (at that time) social media called TELEVISION. The effects for women were just as insidious (again, for its day) then as they are today. Much less violent towards, much more controlling (or attempts to) of women through commercials, ads, and content of shows such as “Father Knows Best” and more, but the violence (rape, beatings) grew, while the attempts to control through insecurity and/or fear never ended.

  9. DDB9000 says:

    Since that this is Facebook (which I have never had, and will never have anything whatsoever to do with), I fully expect they will do little to nothing about this. Facebook is for fakes…

  10. Yes, it was an amazing achievement. Let’s see what happens next. As the Fairy Godmother may have said to Little Red Riding Hood: “Beware! It’s in the wolf’s nature to be a wolf.”

    I will believe the pudding when I see the proof…
    http://amazingsusansblog.wordpress.com/2013/05/25/im-confused-facebook-trigger-warning/

  11. Vegan Vixen says:

    Look i think that the greatness of Facebook and Twitter is the LACK of censorship! note Turkey’s PM on a tirade against Twitter and FB! its because it is the LAST FREE press we have! while i dont agree that pages that promote hate and incite violence ought to be ‘liked’ they still may have a place in this FB land! and to be honest most of these pages have a fan base of under 100! i only see them because angry people find them and share links to the pages. perhaps these angry people are SEEKING these pages and as they say you shall find what you seek! Ive seen some disgusting pages out there thanks to these links angry people share, but in general i dont see them because i am not looking for them. if we start asking FB and Twitter to CENSOR.. well soon so while fascist governments and if that happens well farewell to the ONLY free press we have left!

  12. Can say it keeps one on ones toes…Never assume just becasue it is the 21st century or the nineties or 2013 that these global, eons old practices of woman hatred have changed. They have not, only in that a few nations and many individuals have come to question the assumed male right to berate, abuse, degrade, de-huMANise, rape and kill women any where any time, whether for fun, profit or just to keep them bitches in line. The issues as it connects to social media is a myriad of legal and ethical issues. You do have the right, in a public sphere to say what you want, no matter how uncouth callous or base. When it is a private business the rules change. What never changes are the players, their offensiveness and determination to be seen as both witty and menacing. All I can think is personalize the political, and to paraphrase Maya Angelou

    “When a man shows you who he is…believe him…”

    Nazi’s, serial killers, batterers, bullies, rapists, violent porn producers, murderers and child molesters are not accidents or even rare in the human species. Stay aware!

  13. The power of social media has made a positive change in the society. The content in social media has really affected the image of any gender, so it should be positive.

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