Is Facebook silencing women? Some of them certainly think so.
Despite the recent collapse of some Hollywood giants, it still remains quite difficult for women to speak out against misogyny, even if that only means venting out their frustration on social media.
The #MeToo movement inspired countless women to express their disappointment and anger at men on Facebook by posting comments are “men are scum” and “all men are ugly” — only to be met with a temporary ban from the platform that lasts for one day to 30 days.
In November, around 500 women came together to post some variation of “men are scum” on Facebook after the issue was raised in a private Facebook post. Almost all the women who participated in the event were banned.
Dozens of female comedians and artists have now begun compiling their ordeals of being penalized by Facebook for something as harmless as standing up to trolls, on the website FacebookJailed.com.
“There was one guy who was threatening to find my house and beat me up,” Kayla Avery, a Boston comedienne said. “I got banned before I could even successfully report it.”
It’s not all that surprising (though no less dismaying) that Facebook rules “white men” as protected class. The social media platform’s protected categories include “sex, race, religious affiliation, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, and serious disability or disease,” according to NY Mag. Meanwhile, the unprotected categories include age, country, religion, social class, occupation, political ideology, appearance and continental origin.
This actually means derogatory comments for people who fall under the category of “white men” will not be tolerated by Facebook — but there will be no punishment for derogatory comments against “black children” (because age is unprotected).
Hmmm, that’s logic for you.
But that should mean women are protected as well. They are apparently not.
Several people have tried posting “women are scum” and asked their friends to report them but Facebook has not responded as divisively and quickly against them. Neither did it punish those people who wrote the “n-word” and “ugly c***” and hurled rape threats against comedienne Rae Sunni’s timeline.
Women are now speculating Facebook’s internalized misogyny leads to this culture of punishment being doled out unequally. Facebook says otherwise.
The platform claims that even with 7,000 moderators, things often seem to slip thought the cracks and they are working to refine their complaint response process. One issue the moderators face is that many posts are viewed individually without looking at their context. Moderators also aren’t able to view the original poster’s personal or demographic information. Combine these things and it’s very easy to abuse the system, something that trolls know well.
However, many women allege it is targeting remarks that are part of the resurgent #MeToo campaign.
Banner/Thumbnail Credit: REUTERS, Toby Melville