Facebook Finally Removes Its Pro-Rape Pages

Facebook Finally Removes Its Pro-Rape Pages

Summary: It took Change.org two months, 186K signatures and a furious Twitter campaign to get pro-rape pages removed from Facebook.

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It only took two long months, over 186,000 signatures on a petition to Mark Zuckerberg, and finally a furious Twitter campaign to get Facebook to remove Pages that graphically celebrated and encouraged rape and sexual violence.

This time, anyway.

Warning: some readers might find the rest of this article and its links disturbing.

Unfortunately this was not the first time Facebook had to be externally pressured to enforce its own Terms around the flashpoint topic of sexual violence. And no, we're not talking about consensual spanky-spanky between adults. (I'm sure Facebook would have taken that Page down much sooner.)

The first round was in August, when people demanded that Facebook take down a so-called "rape humor" page called "You know she’s playing hard to get when your [SIC] chasing her down an alleyway."

Facebook defended keeping the rape page as a sort-of everyday, harmless thing, and in a statement to the BBC likened the pro-rape page to "pub jokes." (Remind me to never go drinking with Facebook.)

Social justice website GoPetition had to cull over 6,000 signatures before the page was deep-sixed.

In September, more "rape humor" Pages and Pages celebrating sexual violence against women and girls were up and running (and no doubt earning that sweet Facebook ad revenue). Once again, Facebook seemed to have turned a deaf ear to its users' complaints.

Change.org then started a petition to try and get the pages promoting sexual violence removed.

But Facebook ignored it. Until a few days ago.

Facebook Pages that lasted despite user outrage from at least September 8th - November 2nd (a sampling):

  • Riding You [SIC] Girlfriend Soflty [SIC] So She Doesn't Wake Up
  • Abducting, raping and violently murdering your friend, as a joke
  • Don't You Hate it When You Punch a Sl*t in the Mouth and They Suck It

Sadly, Change.org had to get creative in order to get Facebook to enforce its own Terms of Service. In short, they used Twitter.

Yes. They had to resort to a competing social site to wake Facebook the hell up - at the very least to its own Terms.

After two months and 186,000 signatures with no response - not even an insulting one about bar banter - Change.org began a new campaign Monday on top of its massive petition.

Change.org urged the 186K people that had already signed the petition to Tweet the URLs of Facebook pages promoting sexual assault with the tag #notfunnyfacebook.

With support publicity from Ms. Magazine the #notfunnyfacebook campaign supporters were tweeting the hashtag at a peak rate of 200 tweets per hour.

Show Me On The Doll Where Facebook Touched You

After removing the pages, Facebook's rep told AllFacebook that they take things seriously (really!), and reminded everyone that reporting a Page is how to get offending content reviewed (using a different definition of the word "promptly" than the rest of us) and also said that they've made the social reporting tool totally much more awesome because they care and stuff.

It's great that the pages joking about girls having sex at knifepoint are finally gone after months of traumatizing sexual assault victims in its community that accidentally landed on the page. Yay, Facebook.

What I mean is to congratulate Change.org for not giving up. But how many of us have had Facebook rip the rug our from under us, or our friends, for far far less?

I think most people are so fed up with Facebook by now that they're tired of the endless stream of injustices to them as Facebook consumers, content makers, responsible social media citizens, businesses - and let's not forget the developers.

So it bends the brain beyond reason to think that at a breaking point of everyone being ready to accuse Facebook of just about anything, their negligent behavior toward sexual violence victims could become reprehensibly, cartoonishly extreme.

The social media behemoth has a massive problem with sex. This is exactly what happens when a social network refuses to roll up its sleeves and define sexual expression in its Terms. Specifically, I mean Facebook's urgent need to define different types of sexual speech or expression as healthy or harmful to its community.

Sex is the Achilles' Heel of all social businesses. And to that end, transparency can be a cruel mistress.

With zero tolerance for porn and a refusal to define it, Facebook has deleted breast cancer survivor communities (labeling one breast cancer survivor page as "pornography"), retail business pages, individual profiles of human sexuality teachers, pages for authors and actors, photos of LGBT couples kissing (for which Facebook just apologized), and even the occasional hapless user's profile who has the misfortune of having someone else post porn on their Wall.

With no comprehensible or clear methodology around sexual speech, we see pages deleted that discuss female sexuality, while pages that joke about and encourage raping women and girls rack up the likes.

Not to mention - a petition, and two months, and a whole lotta common sense about doing the right thing with over-the-top troll pages? Just how incompetently can you run your product, Facebook? Very, apparently.

Unless they can make clear rules and follow them, with the potential to impact and harm the culture it pretends to serve, I think Facebook is going to have to be forced into being a responsible internet citizen.

I don't know what that looks like, but it can't happen soon enough. Until then, get me a whip.

Topic: Social Enterprise

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52 comments
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  • How To Host A Rape

    I notice Facebook has pages on the game "How To Host A Murder". Is rape worse than murder? Yet we can make a game out of murder, but it seems not of rape.

    "The Onion Movie" had a "How To Host A Rape" sequence making this exact same point.
    ldo17
    • RE: Facebook Finally Removes Its Pro-Rape Pages

      @ldo17 <br> "How To Host A Murder" is a game where the participants attempt to determine who committed a murder. These games are invariably set in a milieu where the punishment for murder is death.<br><br>A more accurate name might be "How To Host A Murder Investigation So That The Murderer Is Discovered And Subsequently Hanged, Gassed or Electrocuted".<br><br>Any attempt to defend these fb pages is, at best, a result of extreme ignorance. More likely it is a symptom of an antisocial personality disorder.
      iaincartwright
      • RE: Facebook Finally Removes Its Pro-Rape Pages

        @iaincartwright Or you know, have a different view on things than you do. I, for one, am somewhat of a zealot when it comes to freedom of speech and see no reason to remove such pages. If you don't like their subject matter you can choose not to read them. I find such subject matter abhorrent myself, but as Francois Marie-Arouet said, "I may not agree with a d*** word you say, but I'll fight to the death to defend your right to say it".
        Mannygokelly
      • RE: Facebook Finally Removes Its Pro-Rape Pages

        @iaincartwright Wait what? Someone disagrees with you, so you accuse him of antisocial personality disorder? Sounds like you have narcissitic personality disorder with some unertones of schizophrenic anxiety and possibly even mild sociopathic rage.
        clokverkorange
      • RE: Facebook Finally Removes Its Pro-Rape Pages

        @iaincartwright

        i ain cart wright - cart wright from bonanza?

        then that means your must of played the game "clue" and watched the movie and laughed. Your a hypocrite.
        Sothereiswater
  • RE: Facebook Finally Removes Its Pro-Rape Pages

    Wait, isn't Facebook's "real name" policy supposed to Fix All Social Ills By Making Everybody Accountable?

    Wait, it doesn't have that effect?

    Color me not surprised.

    Problem is, social networking sites are banning the wrong "problems" and letting [b]REAL[/b] problems go scott free.

    I'm sorry, but they really need to fix the way things work, because it's broken. A page like that shouldn't be up for even a day, much less over a month.
    CobraA1
  • RE: Facebook Finally Removes Its Pro-Rape Pages

    You know, part of me says this is a good thing and part of me thinks that we should defend their right to speak on such a page because I don't want might rights to speak on say, Christianity or Government Corruption to be jeopardized.

    I think Rape is bad and there's no doubting that but, pages like these are going to happen in a free society because, even sick people have the right to speak their mind.
    slickjim
    • RE: Facebook Finally Removes Its Pro-Rape Pages

      @Peter Perry

      If you, Peter Perry, extend the "right to speak their mind" in public forums to all groups who are pro-"repugnant-practice" (e.g. rapists, child abusers, bombers, torturers, fire-bugs etc.) then all you and I have is a philosophical/political dispute.

      I believe that if anyone wants to promote criminal violence of any sort then they should do so at the risk of legal sanction - that this has to be a civil societies response to the incitement of terror. There are plenty of people in the world who believe that trucks-full-of-fertilizer or planes-full-of-people should be steered into buildings. Just as there are people who believe that woman dressed a certain way are encouraging sexual assault or rape.

      Obviously you cannot prevent fruitcakes from expressing themselves in private or in forums over which you have no control. What you can do is say "No, we don't endorse that shit here - the right to freedom-from-fear trumps the right to freedom-of-expression; if you want to say that stuff then say it somewhere else".

      I am aware of the slippery-slope argument, and it worries me that I could be wrong on some level - but it seems to me that to publish is to endorse - unless perhaps you publish anything and everything, and who does that?
      iaincartwright
      • RE: Facebook Finally Removes Its Pro-Rape Pages

        @iaincartwright Oh now that is two different animals right there... I think they should have the right to speak their mind but also, they should understand that doing so leaves them accountable for their actions. I do not endorse lawlessness by any means.

        As for the page in question, it was on Facebook! This is a place where the overthrowing of several governments was just planned and executed! I seriously doubt they are filtering much information at all.
        slickjim
      • RE: Facebook Finally Removes Its Pro-Rape Pages

        @iaincartwright Your second paragraph goes entirely against the concept of free speech. If your ideas really are superior to those whose ideas you dislike (like those who believe rape is something that can be joked about, or even advocated) then they will win in the marketplace of ideas and crowd out the other ideas. There should be no reason to ban the speech, because if it is truly repugnant to the vast majority of people such speech will fall on deaf ears.

        Advocating/joking about the potential upsides of violent and or criminal acts is not the same as "incitement" of "terror" or of those acts themselves.

        It is entirely legal to advocate violence. It is not illegal to incite violence. There are differences.
        Mannygokelly
      • RE: Facebook Finally Removes Its Pro-Rape Pages

        @iaincartwright With freedom of speech comes responsibility...think about it and responsibilities to protect the rights of those wronged and then you will 'get it'.
        Frankly if facebook closed down today productivity in the US would go up...hey, maybe there is a direct relationship between the birth of facebook and the start of the recession!
        Bradish@...
      • RE: Facebook Finally Removes Its Pro-Rape Pages

        @iaincartwright et al<br><br>You're all missing the point. The only speech on Facebook that's protected is Facebook's. If these repugnant speakers had their own server and paid for their own bandwidth, and the <u>government</u> was shutting them down <i>because of their speech</i>, then we'd have a first amendment issue.<br><br>Anyone with a Facebook page is there at Facebook's pleasure. Facebook, by definition, cannot violate free speech rights.

        As far as consequences go, not everybody understands this including some people who should like Dr. Laura Schlessinger.

        After she notoriously uttered her repugnant speech, she charged advertisers who dropped her, and especially activists who urged the advertisers to drop her, with violating her free speech rights.

        Nothing could be further from the truth. Dr. Schlessinger has the same rights we have, and we don't have a right to host a radio show in some else's studios, or a right to advertising revenues.

        Freedom of the press doesn't apply until you own the press.




        :)
        none none
      • RE: Facebook Finally Removes Its Pro-Rape Pages

        @iaincartwright "Obviously you cannot prevent fruitcakes from expressing themselves in private or in forums over which you have no control."

        Yes, obviously. Case in point.
        clokverkorange
    • RE: Facebook Finally Removes Its Pro-Rape Pages

      @Peter Perry

      [i]I don't want might (my?) rights to speak on say, Christianity or Government Corruption to be jeopardized.[/i]

      Facebook is private property and the only speech that's protected on Facebook is that of the proprietor.

      You're right, sick people and even Christians and tea baggers have a right to speak their mind, but they have no right to someone else's server and bandwidth.

      IOW noone has a right to a Facebook page.




      :)
      none none
    • RE: Facebook Finally Removes Its Pro-Rape Pages

      @Peter Perry/@iaincartwright I don't think this really has anything to do with right or wrong, or freedom of speech for that matter. It's not like facebook enacted a law that limits your freedom of speech... It's their website, all they did was finally cut content that didn't fit their terms of service, which they have full right to do. They also had full right to leave it up, and change their terms of service instead (or not, and just continue to host a site with conflicting information).<br>The only reason they made this change was due to public pressure...simple economics. <br>When consumer complaints from healtlh nuts lead to McDonalds or some other company takes trans fats out of it's food because people complain, is that akin to violating your right to eat trans fats? No, you simply have to get them somewhere else now. People can argue all day over whether rape humor, trans fats, or whatever else are good or bad, or whether they have a place in our society, but it doesn't matter...none of the fundamental rules have changed.<br>1) our constitution still protects free speech<br>2) private companies still have the ability to offer products/sevices according to their own terms of service.<br><br>none of that has been violated here. Nor would it have been if the content stayed up.
      thisnameisok
      • RE: Facebook Finally Removes Its Pro-Rape Pages

        @thisnameisok

        You can't say anything you want on Facebook or anywhere else whether their terms of service allow it or not. The constitution does in fact protect freedom of speech and hopefully always will but you can be sure that there would be government intervention if their were Islamic terrorists planning their activities or contract killers offering their services there. Freedom of speech has well established legal limits that no company's terms of service can exceed, or any private website or other means of public expression. There is, in fact, no venue where their is total freedom of speech or expression that doesn't have legal limits.
        jonbill
  • It depends on whether the page was real

    Or satire and parody
    Sadly too many people are offended easily because they have no sense of humor
    It is sad that society has taught them to squawk anytime something is uncomfortable or they do not understand.
    zmud
    • RE: Facebook Finally Removes Its Pro-Rape Pages

      @zmud because being angry about people making fun of horrific and tramatizing crimes is being overly sensitive. i bet you think there's a such thing as the pc police.
      drdongsmd
      • RE: Facebook Finally Removes Its Pro-Rape Pages

        @drdongsmd Actually yes it is overly sensitive. You don't get/appreciate someone else's sense of humor. Fine. Why are you trying to prevent those who enjoy that sense of humor from getting that enjoyment? Generally anyone advocating "political correctness" is basing their views, on some level, upon the heavily discredited Sapir-Whorff hypothesis.
        Mannygokelly
    • RE: Facebook Finally Removes Its Pro-Rape Pages

      @zmud Actually, it doesn't matter if the Page was parody or not.

      What matters - and is the central point of my article - is that the Page violated Facebook's own Terms of Service.

      Facebook is not the Internet, and it is not America. It does not follow the First Amendment (or any free speech laws) and it does not follow the principles of the open and uncensored internet.

      That is the problem. Facebook wants to have it both ways and play by its own rules - except it is not following its own rules to its users. Facebook is only following its own rules for one entity, and one entity only: itself.

      I would love to hold Facebook to the First Amendment, or even the uncensored standards of the open interent. I hate censorship and that's why I only visit Facebook for professional reasons and don't give it any personal information.

      If you think I'm in support of people that complain as a means of making the world "safer" for them and their values, you are not only wrong. It means you know nothing of the well-documented censorship battles in my history as a public figure - with iTunes, Libya, Yahoo!, Google, Hearst Corp. and more. The only battle I lost was with Libya.
      Violet Blue