Update on #FBrape campaign progress

As some of you know, Facebook announced Friday that they’ve created a feature that will remove ads from pages that don’t violate their terms of service but are still deemed “controversial.” This new policy will protect advertisers, but do nothing for users. It utterly misses the point of the #FBrape campaign, and makes it more difficult for users to hold Facebook to account going forward. We condemn it in no uncertain terms.

But it won’t stop us. Until Facebook makes significant changes to the way they determine what does and doesn’t violate their anti-hate speech guidelines, we will continue to hold them to the commitments they’ve made. There’s a long way to go in that process, but there’s some progress on that front, too.

In the month since the #FBrape campaign ended:

  • Facebook worked with WAM! to create a process through wich people and orgs can get content to Facebook for expedited review. That’s here, in case you need it.
  • To date, we estimate that 70% of the pages sent to WAM! by users and expedited to Facebook through the process detailed above have met violation of terms criteria and been removed. Most of this content had been previously reported to Facebook by a user and deemed not in violation of their terms of service. We’re working with Facebook to figure out why so much content is still not coming down when users initially report.
  • When necessary, specific problems have been addressed on an individual basis. Facebook has responded quickly to some incidences involving specific individuals or organizations targeted for bullying, harassment or threats when we brought them to Facebook’s attention.
  • WAM!mer Soraya Chemaly had a lengthy conference call with representative of the Anti-Defamation League to discuss how members of our coalition could participate in the Anti Cyber-Hate Working Group to raise greater awareness of issues related to gender-based hate speech. Gender has not been a major consideration to date apparently.
  • We submitted a preliminary document to Facebook, broadly outlining the areas addressed in Facebook’s written commitment. In response, Facebook has just agreed to a full-day session in mid-July during which time we will meet with a team that trains reviewers and includes people responsible for guildelines and policies. This day-long meeting will include our presenting a case study, detailed conversation regarding how decisions are currently made, and will also include some of the broader contextual problems related to women’s free speech, representations of bodies, sexuality, etc.
There are, of course, still many outstanding questions. There’s still a lot to do. We share your frustration with Facebook’s recent action, as well as the pace of change, but want to assure you that we remain hopeful that we’ll get there, and we’re glad of the changes that have already been made. Thanks, as always, for getting us this far!