Dear Facebook: DO SOMETHING about this Misogyny!

To the leaders and admins of Facebook,

In the previous years, your website has transformed from a small college connection website to a monolith that shrinks the size of the globe. Now people thousands of miles away can share ideas and experiences in a way that was only dreamed of by entrepreneurs and Internet users alike. People from all walks of life, with all kinds of identities, use your website to help broaden their horizons and network with like minded individuals. Some even use it to gain support when they are going through tough experience and need a little help along the way. This tool you’ve created has great potential to make the world a better place.

I have made use of this tool since 2008 and have used it for community organizing, seeking out old friends I’ve lost contact with, keeping in touch with relatives, and engaging into dynamic political discourse that has opened my mind to the wonderful ideas the world has to offer. I have been around to see the shifts, changes and successes Facebook has endured.

But along with the good experiences I’ve had using Facebook came many negative experiences. As with any other Internet site, there’s always a chance that people with malicious intent will also spend time on the site, which eventually ruins the experience for other users—sometimes causing unnecessary traumas in otherwise diplomatic settings.

While this may take the form of antagonizing, identity theft, and blatant bigotry, the focus of this letter is to make you aware of the very real presence of misogyny that exists on your page in hopes that perhaps you may address it with more fervor in the future. These pages aren’t simply fringe pages with one or two dozen followers making offensive commentary periodically. There are bigoted pages that have a commanding influence in the website, such as “Masculinist India” which has 20,000 followers and repeatedly makes commentary about women being “inferior” and rape needing to be decriminalized.

Not only that, there seems to be a very real fundamental issue with your reporting system, which in the past has permitted to continued existence of racist and sexist pages but has resulted in the removal of pages that confront this bigotry. A very recent example was the creation of a page called “The Queer, Black Feminist Must Die”, which has been reported by dozens of viewers and has sent death threats to the creator of “The Queer, Black Feminist”. Upon reporting this page for violence, I received a notification from the Facebook admins stating that this page did not violate the Facebook policy.

The page, “The Queer, Black Feminist Must Die” is by far not the only blatantly sexist and racist page Facebook has permitted to exist despite multiple reports. Groups are some of the other places where misogyny and conspiracy to harass are nurtured. Just recently, Facebook finally removed a page called “Misogynists”, which required raising awareness across multiple human rights groups and pages in order to eliminate.

May I ask, why does it have to take massive amounts of effort from the regular users of Facebook to get a clearly sexist, racist or homophobic page/group removed? And to respond to those who report these bigoted pages as “not breaking Facebook policy” when they OBVIOUSLY do? What message are you sending to your users by allowing hateful pages to prosper at their expense?

As a woman poised to undergo treatment for abuse and gender violence, the things that Facebook allows on the website are absolutely appalling to say the least. In fact, one could argue that it has become less of a safe space for all users because of the hostility, threats of violence, and harassment that have gone unpunished for so long. It’s even difficult to partake in discussions about entertainment without running into triggering misogyny.

If nothing is done about the hate speech that saturates the Facebook community and the very broken reporting system currently in place, you risk alienating a significant number of users from your site. Racist and sexist pages/groups should not be permitted to exist, and you need to listen to the reports and concerns expressed by your users when these hostile conditions exist.

I call upon you to address these problems that exists on your website. Users shouldn’t have to fear being harassed, threatened or triggered by sexism, racism, etc if they make use of your website and they should be able to trust that if such a condition arises, you will address it!

Below, I have added various pictures of misogynistic Facebook groups an posts with descriptions as proof of my claims. This includes the aforementioned groups that have been involved in internet misogyny and threats of violence.

I have left the pictures out until the end of the letter because of their hostile nature. For the other readers of this letter, these posts come with a TRIGGER WARNING for extreme misogyny and rape apologism.

This was the feed back I got from Facebook when I reported this group. It took a great effort of raising awareness to get it removed.

This was the feed back I got from Facebook when I reported this group. It took a great effort of raising awareness to get it removed.

An example of harassment of Facebook users by hostile pages.

An example of harassment of Facebook users by hostile pages.

Post made on a notoriously sexist group.

Post made on a notoriously sexist group. Below is Facebook’s refusal to remove this picture.10710291_325291254308932_2037093909841617910_o

Sexist pages permitted by Facebook to exist.

Sexist pages permitted by Facebook to exist.

Another misogynistic page on Facebook.

Another misogynistic page on Facebook.

The page that's threatening the creator of "The Queer, Black Feminist" and sharing her personal information for the purpose of harassment.

The page that’s threatening the creator of “The Queer, Black Feminist” and sharing her personal information for the purpose of harassment.

Facebook's refusal to remove the page that's clearly harassing the user that reported it.

Facebook’s refusal to remove the page that’s clearly harassing the user that reported it. TQBF admin’s identity has been protected here.

Another report of the hate page, along with Facebook's response.

Another report of the hate page, along with Facebook’s response.

Examples of racism and sexism on that page.

Examples of racism and sexism on that page.

As mentioned before, while Facebook will refuse to remove content that is clearly sexist and threatening, below is a picture from a page dedicated to raising awareness about the bigotry in the Men’s Rights Movement, which in 2012 was declared a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (source posted below). Facebook has removed multiple pages that are designed to raise awareness about this hate group, and has removed many photos from our page called Exposing Men’s Rights Activism.

http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-report/browse-all-issues/2012/spring/myths-of-the-manosphere-lying-about-women

This photo was meant to serve as an example of how bigoted the MRM is.

This photo was meant to serve as an example of how bigoted the MRM is. Facebook will remove a photo designed to raise awareness about hate groups but they won’t remove the pages that breed this kind of hatred.

Here is an example of the kind of Men’s Rights Activist commentary that appears on Facebook.

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Masculinists: The Worst of the Worst

TRIGGER WARNING for extreme misogyny

So in the previous post, we touched a little bit on what Facebook tolerates when it comes to misogyny and harassment online. But the group of men’s rights activists that tops all of the groups in existence when it comes to male supremacism and misogyny are the Masculinists.

Masculinists, unlike those who associate themselves with the broader “Men’s Rights Movement” or “Men’s Human Rights Movement”, are unapologetically anti-gender equality and are outspoken with their sexist ideologies. They hold no pretense about being “humanists”, like many notable MRAs claim to be. Masculinists strive to establish a world that revolves around male needs and aspirations with women being used as nothing more than sex slaves and domesticated servants.

Essentially, “masculinism” is another term for supremacism, just like other reactionary ideologies that championed the plights of certain races and ethnic groups over other groups. The fanaticism of masculinism is difficult to ignore since the behaviors of the masculinist leadership mirror that of a cult.

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Many of these Masculinist groups have been flourishing on Facebook. One prominent one, Masculinist India, boasts 19K likes and frequently posts calling for abuse and torture of women.

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Masculinism is marked with many contradictions and confusions when their stances are called into question. Usually their rants are accompanied with a laundry list of slurs and the absence of credible sources to back their claims. The next two photos will illustrate this phenomenon. The first asserting that being a male supremacist doesn’t inhibit one from also being an equalist, with an explanation that makes it obvious that this Facebook user has a tenuous grasp on the definition of “equalism”. The following post is a rant that claims single mothers couldn’t keep their partners because their behavior is “undisciplined”.

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Whatever the topic is, however, one thing is clear. Women are always at fault for the ills of society in the eyes of masculinists, and they will find a round-a-bout way to “prove” this point with the use of ferocious typing and little source-linking.

Samples of Facebook Misogyny

Sexism online has become a great obstacle for women looking to partake in cyber dialogue, but becomes much worse when one explores the corners of the web that specifically call for attacks against feminism. The purpose of our blog is to raise awareness about this issue so that it can be addressed appropriately by the cyber community. One way we accomplish this is through screenshots.

This array of screenshots came from various groups on Facebook (which Facebook allows to exist, BTW, despite many reports from myself and my comrades). The following pictures were taken from the Women Against Feminism group, the Anti-Feminism group, and the Exposing Feminism page. These come from a slew of topics, but essentially boil down to one common theme: the belief that women are inferior to men and should be policed.

This should give you a small taste of what Facebook tolerates as far as blatant misogyny goes. Obviously we will be posting new photos of misogynistic rants periodically, most with a focus on a discussion about MRA “theory”.

These pictures come with a trigger warning, since much of the content is extremely misogynistic and bigoted in nature.

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The picture above was floating around on many of these Facebook groups.

What follows are posts found on “Women’s Rights News”, which has become notorious for allowing MRA and anti-feminist trolls to make very threatening statements to women and feminist commenters, and the Anti-Feminism group.

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The next couple of photos came from “Women Against Feminism”, which has a following of 20K people.

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Next we have sample troll posts made to our page. These comments are homophobic, transphobic, and sexist in nature.photo

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Another page to look out for is one called “Female Sex Predators: A Crime Epidemic”, which is known to spread lies including alterations of feminist memes with the logo of the “Ad Council” stamped onto the posters. Here is a sample of their lunacy, which claims that false rape accusations are more traumatizing than being raped.

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Something Men’s Rights Activists do online, other than troll the hell out of feminist commentary, is make threats of stealing and publishing personal info of feminists onto anti-feminist websites for the purpose of harassment.

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Stay tuned for more exposés of online sexism.