Facebook buries head in sand over offensive images

A campaign being run by @EverydaySexism on Twitter is highlighting Facebook's ignorance when faced with content which should be deemed unsuitable. The #FBrape trending topic is giving Facebook and Twitter users a platform to bring much wider attention to the pages on the largest social network that contain offensive images of women in rape situations - often making a joke out of the abhorrent crime.

Campaign organisers are reporting images to Facebook, but it appears most of these reports are being rejected as these images don't violate the mythical 'Facebook Community Standard' on hate speech. The campaign is also targeting Facebook advertisers who have ads appearing on the same pages as the images - some companies have responded by withdrawing advertising, some - surprisingly brands aimed largely at women - are either ignoring complaints or are formulating their response.

A growing number of organisations and sites (including TDF) have suspended or even deleted their own Facebook pages in protest at the seeming unwillingness of Facebook to deal with an issue which, to the vast majority of us, is clearly offensive to the majority of adults. If we consider the fact that Facebook allow anyone over 13 to register, we also have a sizeable number of young impressionable teenagers possibly viewing this content.

We're even now hearing reports that some individual Facebook users who are active in this campaign have had their personal accounts suspended on the site although we have had no confirmation as yet.

Facebook isn't the college-build start-up it once was. With over 1 BILLION users, it has a clear responsibility to ensure that its policies do not enable hate speech and this sort of content clearly is offensive and would be considered unacceptable to most audiences. Until the network changes its policy on what is considered acceptable, claims of misogyny and worse are more than valid. Hiding behind 'free speech' is really just as offensive a response as the content it is enabling and by not placing a more consistent ban on the material the site and its management are effectively broadcasting that they consider the actual subject to be fair game. It's not.

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