A report by wired.co.uk looked into the case of Thorlaug Agustdottir who came across a Facebook page called “controversial humour – men are better than women”.
At first she went on to the page to engage in lighthearted banteer with users but this soon turned ugly with a user posting an image of her that had been photoshopped to make it look like she had been attacked with the caption saying: “women are like grass, they need to be beaten/cut regularly”.
This was added to with a comment saying “You just need to be raped”.
When Thorlaug Agustdotti reported this to Facebook she was told that this image did not meet the criteria of “graphic violence” that they consider to be able to remove it.
In the Facebook statement of rights and responsibilities it says “you will not bully, intimidate, or harass any user” and “you will not post content that: is hate speech, threatening, or pornographic; incites violence; or contains nudity or graphic or gratuitous violence.”
The image in question was reported to Facebook not only by Thorlaug Agustdotti several more times but also by other users but it was only when the Icelandic media were contacted by Thorlaug Agustdotti that the image was finally removed and later so was the page itself.
However, Facebook still sent Thorlaug Agustdotti a message saying that it did not see anything actionable in the content of the picture.
According to wired.co.uk, the reply from Facebook showed a lack of understanding from Facebook when it came to protecting women from violence.
She said: “I have to admit that I don’t understand the ways of Facebook. This is the Twilight Zone…They need to start explaining what the heck is going on and why material that clearly crosses any moral line would come back gold stamped A-OK when reported.”
This is the latest case that has made commentators sit up and notice the strange policy from Facebook when it comes to hate talk about women.
There had been an earlier case of outrage when Facebook failed to remove a group that appeared to advocate rape entitled: “You know she is playing hard to get when your chasing her down an alley”.
Wired.co.uk contacted Facebook who stated: “We take our Statement of Rights and Responsibilities very seriously and react quickly to remove reported content that violates our policies. In general, attempts at humour, even disgusting and distasteful ones, do not violate our policies. When real threats or statements of hate are made, however, we will remove them. We encourage people to report anything they feel violates our policies using the report links located throughout the site.”