Since the launch of the #MeToo movement, women have taken to social media to share their personal stories os sexual assault and harassment and express their exasperation with men. These online revelations of abuse, rape, and harassment have rightfully derailed the careers of various powerful names across different industries and shined a light on the fact that in today’s male-driven world, women are unsafe. Still, in spite of the therapeutic and healing nature of these revelations that are doubling as a plea to have our voices heard, Facebook has been suspending women for posts of ironic misandry — or, what the social network calls “hate speech” – against men.
Facebook has been banning women for innocuous comments similar to the phrase “men are scum.”
I (sarcastically) posted this comment on @nsilverberg‘s post screenshotting dozens of death & rape threats
30 day ban lol
— Marcia Belsky (@MarciaBelsky) October 19, 2017
An in-depth article by the Daily Beast highlighted Facebook’s habit of banning the accounts of women who post variations of messages like “men are trash,” “men are the worst,” and “men are scum.” All of which can be easily recognized as ironic misandry. Mostly these posts are created as a means of angered self-expression calling out the injustice of living in a world where we regularly face abusive behavior from men.
Ban by ban, Facebook is debunking the notion that its platform is the ultimate great equalizer of the internet.
Cooooooool so @facebook is STILL going through my timeline to delete posts. Funny though Facebook said @MarciaBelsky was a mistake yet they are still targeting my page…what. A. Mystery! pic.twitter.com/YcV8SWbpUg
— Kayla Avery (@averykayla) December 4, 2017
In business years, Facebook, which was created in 2004, is still a baby. Still, many have seen how the company has had a monster impact on amplifying the voices of disenfranchised groups and somewhat leveled the playing field on which voices are heard via its platform. But, many of the women whose posts and accounts have gotten the boot from the site are bringing our attention to Facebook’s questionable ethics.
Facebook’s moderation policies censor slurs as well as attacks against “protected categories,” such as race, sexual orientation, sex, gender identity, national origins, religion, as well as diseases and disabilities that are more serious. Factors such as a person’s occupation, social class, age, political affiliation, and appearance are unprotected categories because, according to Facebook, they’re not as closely related to identity. All of this means that that slurs against white men (which checks off the protected categories of race and sex) are seen as hate speech. Meanwhile the social media site continues to allow groups and posts that are unequivocally “pro-white” to run rampant across its platform.
And this censorship is happening quite often.
So @facebook decided my story violated community guidelines because i say men are trash in it as i argue the need for men to acknowledge their sexism. However, posts that threaten people, that incite violence, that are racist and homophobic, those are chill. Fuck outta here. https://t.co/dGdJeKDI7E
— alex zaragoza (@there_she_goz) December 5, 2017
In a piece written for another publication, one of FIERCE‘s own editors wrote an article in the wake of the onslaught of harassment allegations by women and encouraged men to do better. The piece, titled “Dear dudes, you’re all trash,” was removed by Facebook from the publication San Diego CityBeat’s page as well as from the author’s page and others that shared it.
Women on Twitter are less than impressed by the Facebook bans.
The poor delicate flowers.
— west (@coastalwoman56) December 4, 2017
Many women are accusing the platform of acting quickly to censor their words without further evaluation, while also failing to examine groups, pages, and people whose words and actions have clearly amounted to harassment and abuse.
Some have suggested even protesting the platform for its silencing of women.
.Many of us banned/boycotted #Facebook from their very first
day of Business.
We knew then what Facebook
would become, No Good!!
— MarySondermann ? (@FavThngs) December 4, 2017
Others have pointed out the irony of Facebook’s decision to silence women who’ve been experiencing harassment and abuse in the past.
*Men hurt women for millennia, both consciously and unconsciously*
*Women post "Men are scum" to highlight this and to stand up against unfair Facebook banning practices*
Dumbfuck Men: bUt WhY?! nOt aLL mEn. tHiS iS hAteSpEEcH. wHaT iF i sAiD tHiS aBoUt WoMEn? rEvERse seXIsM. pic.twitter.com/0a0huhu205
— Janingle Bellsrito (@janinebrito) November 27, 2017
Many have said that deleting these women’s posts and simultaneously suspending their accounts is comparable to the many industries that have silenced women from speaking up about their own experiences.
According to the Daily Beast, a Facebook spokesperson said that they would “look at ways to apply our policies in a more granular way, for instance to take into account the history of oppression with different genders and ethnicities, etc. when reviewing posts. But we are a global platform.”