UPDATE: Facebook Pulls Some Pro-Violence Groups, Others Remain
Last month, we reported on protests against Facebook groups that joke about violence against women, and on Facebook’s decision to allow them on the social network. More recently, Facebook has removed several of the pages from their site, but many more remain, according to the Huffington Post.
Activists argue that groups like “Riding your Girlfriend softly, Cause you don’t want to wake her up” (87,000 likes) and “You know she’s playing hard to get when she’s trying to break out of your van” (52,000 likes) not only condone rape, but violate Facebook’s own “Statement of Rights and Responsibilities”, which bans content that is “hateful, threatening… incites violence… or contains nudity or graphic or gratuitous violence.”
A petition against the groups on Change.org had garnered over 190,000 signatures.
Facebook only made the PR situation worse by delaying comment, and finally defending the groups, comparing them to a dirty joke told in a bar. What “one person finds offensive another can find entertaining”, said a Facebook spokesperson in a statement.
The episode illustrates a fine line the young company is navigating, as it attempts to welcome hundreds of millions of users and their content, while maintaining certain standards in the community. Facebook has previously defended controversial groups from across the political and social spectrum on the grounds of free speech.
But as with many groups and laws, Facebook tries to draw the line at “content that is hateful, threatening, or incites violence,” according to a spokesperson in the Post article.
But Shelby Knox of Change.org thinks the site has still not done enough, and wants to see more transparency in their decision making:
“Facebook is becoming a space that is not safe for women or people who have been victims of sexual violence,” Knox said. “This contributes to a culture that accepts and even condones rape and violence against women.”
What do you think? Is this protected speech? Should Facebook pull all these groups?