The #FBrape campaign began on Tuesday 21st May with a hashtag and a very simple idea: Facebook acknowledge that hate speech is wrong, and they have policies for moderating content that encourages hatred based on race, gender, sexual orientation or religion, so if you report a post on Facebook that glorifies or trivialises violence against women, it should come down.
When the campaign began, photos of women with bloodied faces with a caption about not making a sandwich correctly were deemed to be acceptable. A photo of a woman gagged and bound with the caption ‘don’t tap it and wrap it, tape her and rape her’ was fine.
Now, thanks to an enormous upswell of public outrage, Facebook have today issued a statement confirming that they’re updating their monitoring policy and retraining their staff.
As a feminist, I’m overwhelmed with joy that this has happened. The fact that a simple protest online brought about 60,000 tweets and 5,000 emails to Facebook, and that those communications from their users (as well as a number of their advertisers) could turn around the policy of a website upon which the vast majority of the Western world lives out their day-to-day life online, is so utterly inspiring.
As a microcosm that’s representative of the opinions and priorities of over a billion people in the world (and growing), it’s so exciting that Facebook is going to start saying ‘no’ to hatespeech related to women, and I sincerely hope that the momentum continues.