Posted in Breaking News

Facebook admits failure, plans to block hate speech and rape ‘humor’

Posted on Facebook
Posted on Facebook

The photo to the left is the kind of rape ‘humor’ that has been posted on Facebook for a long time.  Facebook users and women rights organizations said they complained to the social network, but no one really ever took them seriously.

Facebook is listening now.

It took an army of activists and advertisers to pressure the social network to pay attention to concerns and complaints.  They used Twitter and emails to get their message across.

Women, Action & the Media (WAM!) was one of the organizations pushing for Facebook  to make changes.  It posted an open letter to Facebook , here’s part of  it:

“Specifically, we are referring to groups, pages and images that explicitly condone or encourage rape or domestic violence or suggest that they are something to laugh or boast about.”

WAM’s message inspired women and organizations to come together to make Facebook listen. Here’s what WAM! posted this week on its website:

“Last Tuesday, Women, Action & the Media, the Everyday Sexism Project and author/activist Soraya Chemaly launched a campaign to call on Facebook to take concrete, effective action to end gender-based hate speech on its site. Since then, participants sent over 60,000 tweets and 5000 emails, and our coalition has grown to over 100 women’s movement and social justice organizations.”

There was no way Facebook could ignore 60,000 tweets and counting.  Now Facebook is re-evaluating its guidelines on the posting of content.  Here’s part of Facebook’s statement:

“In recent days, it has become clear that our systems to identify and remove hate speech have failed to work as effectively as we would like, particularly around issues of gender-based hate. In some cases, content is not being removed as quickly as we want.  In other cases, content that should be removed has not been or has been evaluated using outdated criteria. We have been working over the past several months to improve our systems to respond to reports of violations, but the guidelines used by these systems have failed to capture all the content that violates our standards. We need to do better – and we will.”

Let’s see what changes Facebook makes in the coming weeks or months. Stay tuned.



Journalism is my life. I've been a reporter for 36 years. My office is the world. During my career I have been honored with 50 journalism awards and nominations. I'm also an Emmy-nominated TV commentator. I'm currently the VP of Programs for SPJ Fort Worth Chapter. I'm also the former VP of Online for the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.

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