Some examples of these horrible pages include, “Join if you think all sluts need a good kick in the guts haha!!!!!!” and “Violently Raping Your Friend Just for Laughs,” and others that I can’t even repeat.
WAM’s official page states that “Facebook has long allowed content endorsing violence against women. They claim that these pages fall under the ‘humor’ part of their guidelines, or are expressions of ‘free speech.’ But Facebook has proven willing to crack down on other forms of hate speech, including anti-Semitic, Islamophobic and homophobic speech, without claiming such exemptions.”
WAM wrote an open letter to Facebook and is asking companies to remove their advertisements from the site until Facebook agrees to remove such content.
The movement is hoping to achieve three things:
“1. Recognize speech that trivializes or glorifies violence against girls and women as hate speech and make a commitment that you will not tolerate this content.
2. Effectively train moderators to recognize and remove gender-based hate speech.
3. Effectively train moderators to understand how online harassment differently affects women and men, in part due to the real-world pandemic of violence against women.”
WAM! hopes that by getting advertisers to pull their ads, Facebook will actually make a change. Currently, several companies have pulled their ads while others claim they are working privately with Facebook to resolve the issue. WAM! is asking those in support of the movement to reach out to these companies and ask for their help, which seems to be working.
According to the Daily Mail, a spokesperson for Facebook said “Facebook’s policy is that removing all offensive content or controversial humor from its site is not the solution to combating ignorance. Having the freedom to debate serious issues like this is how we fight prejudice. Facebook looks to give people the freedom to describe, depict and comment on the world in which we live.”
Facebook is claiming freedom of speech, but freedom of speech does not protect obscenity, which these groups fall into.
WAM! posted an update today on Twitter:
A WEEK!#fbrape was launched a week ago. In that time we’ve had 15 companies pull from FB, 106 sign the open letter, & over 57,000 tweets!
— WAM! (@womenactmedia) May 28, 2013
I think this is so huge that companies are actually listening. I knew that there were some offensive pages floating around on Facebook, but I had no idea there were so many. It’s frankly quite disgusting that they exist. I’m all for freedom of speech, but I’m for freedom of protected speech. The idea that there are people out there in support of rape or domestic violence, or any violence, makes me sick.
Laura Bates from Everyday Sexism stated, “What is needed is for Facebook to change its policy on representations of rape and domestic violence not sporadically take down pages in response to media pressure while their policies mean such content could be reposted in the future.” The #FBRape movement has posted a petition on Change.org that hopefully will get enough signatures to make a more permanent solution.
What do you think about the #FBRape movement? Do you think Facebook should remove these pages? Tell us in the comments!