Facebook promises to take action on gender-based hate

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Facebook on Tuesday acknowledged that its systems to identify and remove hate speech had not worked effectively, as it faced pressure from feminist groups that want the site to ban pages that glorify violence against women.

The activists, who sent more than 5,000 e-mails to Facebook’s advertisers and elicited more than 60,000 posts on Twitter, also prompted Nissan and more than a dozen smaller companies to say that they would withdraw advertising from the site.

In a blog post, Facebook said its “systems to identify and remove hate speech have failed to work as effectively as we would like, particularly around issues of gender-based hate.” The company said it would review how it dealt with such content, update training for its employees, increase accountability — including requiring that users use their real identities when creating content — and establish more direct lines of communication with women’s groups and other entities.

Looks like Facebook finally realized that, as Alexandra wrote yesterday, you really “shouldn’t mess with the feminist internet.” Congrats to WAM!,  the Everyday Sexism Project, and Soraya Chemaly for kickstarting this campaign and the 224,000 (!) people who signed the petition, tweeted, and blogged!

Atlanta, GA

Maya Dusenbery is an Executive Director in charge of Editorial at Feministing. Maya has previously worked at NARAL Pro-Choice New York and the National Institute for Reproductive Health and was a fellow at Mother Jones magazine. She graduated with a B.A. from Carleton College in 2008. A Minnesota native, she currently lives, writes, edits, and bakes bread in Atlanta, Georgia.

Maya Dusenbery is an Executive Director of Feministing in charge of Editorial.

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  • http://feministing.com/members/amale/ a male

    This story covered on HLN Morning express, and they are taking it seriously.

    OTOH, they are also reporting people are offended by a tea kettle sold at JC Penney they claim looks like Hitler.

  • http://feministing.com/members/sourpop/ sourpop

    Ha… I am happy they are taking action but Facebook is obviously using this as a way to push their idea of using real names/identities that was otherwise unpopular.

  • http://feministing.com/members/queerlyfe/ Paul

    Amazing! However, I just wanted to bring up a somewhat related connection to Feministing.com. In terms of online feminists asking for companies to stop buying FB advertisements, a lot of companies have defended their FB advertisements saying that they cannot monitor what advertisements show up on any given day. I find this stance troubling.

    What I also find troubling is when extremely negative advertisements come up on Feministing.com. A couple of weeks ago I was reading an article posted here heavily focused on eating disorders and body image. At the very bottom of the article was an advertisement. Pictured was a cartoon woman in her underwear holding her belly self-consciously with the caption “1 tip for a tiny belly. Cut down a bit of your belly everyday by following this one weird tip.” Obviously, this advertisement is fat-shaming, body negative, and extremely problematic. Now feministing.com probably has no idea that this advertisement shows up sometimes but bringing awareness to this problem I thought was extremely necessary and hopefully feministing.com could possibly run their website while looking into possible ways in which to filter any problematic advertisements out. Thoughts?