I had a call from a researcher at the radio station LBC this morning, at around 09:10, concerning an emerging story that Facebook are banning posts from women such as ‘men are scum’. A few minutes later I was interviewed by Nick Ferrari about the matter, and I tip my hat to him for questioning me about J4MB, our policies etc. I even managed to get in a plug for ICMI18. I’ve asked for the file of the interview, and will post in on our YouTube channel if it’s made available. You can subscribe to hear past LBC programmes here. A piece by Katie Gibbons on the Facebook story in today’s Times:
Women who have posted on Facebook that “all men are scum” in response to high profile sexual harassment cases have had their accounts banned on the grounds that it is hate speech.
The account of Marcia Belsky, a US comedian, was temporarily suspended after her comment — made about rape and death threats sent to a female friend — was flagged by a user and then classed as inappropriate by the social network’s moderators.
In the wake of the global #MeToo movement, in which women share their experience of sexual harassment, assault and discrimination on social media, many users have reported being blocked by Facebook.
Women even writing things such as “all men are ugly” have had their posts removed, according to the Daily Beast website.
Kayla Avery, also a comedian, told the website that her Facebook account had been suspended several times for writing comments about men. The first time was when she posted “men continue to be the worst” in response to her Facebook page being flooded with derogatory and sexist comments from male trolls.
“There was one guy who was threatening to find my house and beat me up,” she said. “I got banned before I could even successfully report it. Facebook is absolutely silencing women.”
Others have shared similar stories on Facebookjailed.com, a website set up after members of a 500-strong private group were banned for posting about men being “scum” in a protest at the moderation rules.
Facebook’s rules, leaked in documents this year, cover “protected categories” including sex, race, religious affiliation, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity and serious disability or disease. In the “unprotected categories” are things such as social class, occupation, political ideology, appearance, religion and age.
Derogatory posts about “white men” would be in breach of community guidelines but comments on “black children” are allowed, according to New York magazine.
A spokeswoman for Facebook said: “We understand how important it is for victims of harassment to be able to share their stories and for people to express anger and opinions about harassment — we allow those discussions. We draw the line when people attack others simply on the basis of their gender.”
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