Change.org Attacks Pro-Rape Facebook Pages

“What’s 10 inches and gets girls to have sex with me? My knife.” Don’t find that funny? Neither does Change.org, and the social-change platform is doing something about it.

As part of its Demand Facebook Remove Pages That Promote Sexual Violence campaign, Change.org is urging the nearly 185,000 people supporting the initiative (as of this writing) to tweet the URLs of Facebook pages that promote rape or sexual assault, using the hashtag #notfunnyfacebook.

Change.org also mentioned other examples of offensive pages — “Kicking Sluts in the Vagina,” “I know a silly little bitch that needs a good slap,” and “Riding your Girlfriend softly, Cause you dont want to wake her up.”

These pages were removed by Facebook by the time we first posted this story. A spokesperson for the social network said in an email:

There is no place on Facebook for content that is hateful, threatening, or incites violence, and we encourage users to report pages, posts or users who violate our Statement of Rights and Responsibilities. Reporting is the best way to surface hateful content for review by our multi-lingual team, who will promptly remove content that violates our terms. We take reports of questionable and offensive content very seriously, which is why, in addition to our usual reporting links which are found on every page of the service, we have invested in giving people even more control over how they report things on Facebook with the social reporting tool.

We want Facebook to be a place where people can openly discuss issues and express their views, while respecting the rights and feelings of others. With more than 800 million people around the world expressing varying opinions and ideals using Facebook as a place to discuss and share things that are important to them, we sometimes find people discussing and posting about controversial topics. Groups or pages that express an opinion on a state, institution, or set of beliefs – even if that opinion is outrageous or offensive to some – do not by themselves violate our policies. These online discussions are a reflection of those happening offline, where conversations happen freely.

The organization said on its signup page:

Facebook’s own Terms of Service prohibit content that is “hateful, threatening,” or contains “graphic or gratuitous violence.” Moreover, users are specifically barred from posting content that aims to “bully, intimidate, or harass” any user.

Facebook could and should do more to stop them from popping up in the first place and to swiftly remove those that do exist. First, Facebook needs to clarify that pages that encourage or condone rape — like the ones mentioned above — are in violation of its existing standards. Second, it needs to make a statement that all pages that describe sexual violence in a threatening way will be immediately taken down upon being reported. Finally, Facebook must include specific language in its Terms of Service that make it clear that pages promoting any form of sexual violence will be banned.

Change.org Director of Organizing Shelby Knox added:

It’s remarkable to see awareness and outrage grow as more people join the #notfunnyfacebook tag, a testament to the impressive organizing by individuals fighting for a Facebook free of rape and sexual violence.

That these concerned people are using online tools like Change.org and Twitter to demand better behavior from Internet giants like Facebook speaks to the power of well-directed online outrage.

The one thing that confuses us about this campaign is the fact that Change.org is using such an obviously indirect method. The leading social network offers numerous options for flagging abusive content. Why not use them first?

Readers: Have you come across any enlightened gems like the Facebook pages and posts mentioned here?

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