Some down. A long way to go. (Trigger warning)

Report_ I like her brainsOn May 25, shortly after I posted “I’m confused Facebook….”, Facebook took down the “tape her at rape her” image for which I was temporarily blocked after I posted it with a link to the open letter (demanding “swift, comprehensive and effective action addressing the representation of rape and domestic violence on Facebook),”  on my AmazingWomenRock Facebook page.

In fact, Facebook went one step further and took down the entire Offensive Humor at its Best page, on which the original image (as well as the one at right) had appeared since February.

Facebook has also removed many of the images depicting, inciting, and legitmizing violence against women that were originally identified in the open letter created by  Women, Action, & Media (WAM), The Everyday Sexism Project and writer/activist Soraya Chemaly. 

Thank you Facebook, for removing those images.

However, there are thousands more to go. WAM captures new images here on a regula basis). The issue, the way many of us see it,  goes far beyond removing individual images and pages, although that certainly must be done. As outlined in the open letter, a broader more long-term approach is required to change the way rape and domestic violence are portrayed on Facebook (and in the media in general for that matter).

While Facebook removed some of the images, it also changed its reporting process, making it difficult for individuals who have flagged inappropriate content to track whether that content has been removed or not, other than by going back and checking the individual pages on which the content appears.

For example, the support dashboard that showed inappropriate content “whistleblowers” Facebook’s responses to reports of hate speech, nudity, pornography and the like, has been disabled. And the history of previous reports has been deleted from individuals’ Facebook accounts.

On May 25, when I reported the “tape at the rape” image, I was immediately sent an email by Facebook with a link to the support dashboard where I could see the result of my report. It looked like this:Support Dashboard May 25

On May 26, I reported (as nudity) two of these three images in the gallery below. All the images appeared, and as of  14:00 EST, May 27, still appear, on the page Sex Pictures:

I got no reply, or confirmation notification from Facebook. Nor was there a support dashboard link in the reporting window as there had been on May 25. The “go to the support dashboard” link previously showed on the bottom left hand corner of the window in the screen shot below; it’s now no longer there.

No support dashboard May 26

Today, May 27, I reported (as nudity) the image below, one of many similar images which appear on the page Fresh Tits and Fanny:Fresh tits 2

I was unable to report this image on the same page:

Fresh tits & fanny 1

When I tried to report the second image, I discovered “None” in the place where the report option should have been. It would appear that, in this case at least, I was only allowed to report one image on the page…

(BTW, the procedure for reporting hate speech and inappropriate content on Facebook remains the same, and you should keep reporting such content when you see it.)

So. Inappropriate content whistleblowers may now in some cases only be allowed to report one image per page, and after reporting an image or page, there is no way to know whether that image or page has been taken down other than by revisiting and checking the relevant page. All of the above images, on their respective pages, are still there as of 13:00 EST, May 27.

Bye Bye Support Dashboard

I imagine Facebook must have been pretty pissed off that the support dashboard, probably conceived as a value-added feature for their users, has been used to pillory them in this ongoing battle with respect to what is and what is not acceptable content.

Beyond having the support dashboard, one their own service features, used as a tool against them, I see three more potential reasons why Facebook would choose to disable this functionality at this particular time:

  1. to make it more  onerous for those reporting inappropriate content to track the efficacy of their efforts
  2. to make it impossible for whistleblowers to supply tangible evidence the content has been reported and not removed
  3. to avoid being confronted with the irrefutable evidence that their community standards and process with respect to content denigrating women is fundamentally flawed

Clearly, it must be embarrassing for Facebook to see screen shots like these, particularly when they had removed “tape her and rape her” from my page and temporarily blocked me for posting it:reported tape her & rape her

Report_ I like her brains

No reasonable person would not deem these to be “hate speech” towards women. Likewise, how could the images I included above not constitute “nudity.” The women are nude. They are posing suggestively. It seems fairly clear….

(For the record, I am not at all anti nudity. I myself recently posed nude as a model for a sketching workshop. I’m all for nudity, though I confess I find cleavage shots such as those above trashy, unattractive and crass. But the issue here is not my taste in tits, it is the inconsistent application of Facebook’s standards, which by anyone’s standards is arbitrary, illogical and confusing.)

The Heart of the Matter

I would suggest there are several key considerations in the struggle between Facebook on the one hand, and the supporters of this campaign (including myself) on the other; they are:

  1. what constitutes acceptable and unacceptable content
  2.  who decides what is acceptable or unacceptable (i.e.  Facebook,  as the owner of the platform, or  the community, the platform’s users)
  3. how Facebook community standards policies are actually applied

With respect to the last point, it’s confusing and frustrating for community members who are advocating for less violently misogynistic content on Facebook to experience what is to us the  seemingly capricious application of Facebook’s policy with respect to the problematic content.

For example, Facebook community standards say :

“…we do not permit individuals or groups to attack others based on their race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, disability or medical condition.

and

We also impose limitations on the display of nudity. We aspire to respect people’s right to share content of personal importance, whether those are photos of a sculpture like Michelangelo’s David or family photos of a child breastfeeding.”

If that’s the case, how do images such as the ones above and below pass the Facebook standards litmus test?

Whereas this one, designed to help people understand the physiology of breasts, for example, does not:

We removed nipples

Finally, i strikes me that at the core of the debate, at a deeper level than policy, and a much deeper level than the mechanics of approving and/or removing content, is the issue of social responsibility and what it means to be a good corporate citizen in our changing world.

Are you one Facebook? A good corporate citizen I mean? Many of your advertisers are — they’re doing the right thing by suspending their ads until this issue is resolved. And the media worldwide is amplifying their voice as well as ours.

If you are a good corporate citizen, there’s a long way to go to regain our trust and show us that you want to work with us, not against us, to make Facebook (and the world at large) a safer place for women to be.

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11 thoughts on “Some down. A long way to go. (Trigger warning)

  1. I saw something pornographic on facebook. I was shocked that it wasn’t immediately removed. I think there needs to be more accountability (Facebook).

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