#FBRape Campaign: How Misogynistic Do Photos Have to Be Before Facebook Bans Them?


Whereas first-wave feminists stood outside the White House demanding the right to vote, and second-wave feminists staged protests of Miss America pageants, third-wave feminists are taking to the internet to state their outrage at how patriarchal and misogynistic language and attitudes are continuing to hurt women. 

After Facebook’s casual silence over the posting of violent photos that encouraged men to violently rape or beat their girlfriends (or sometimes young girls), women (and men who understand they are not violent creatures) got fed up with the leniency with which Facebook approached the reported images. 

In fact, in one screen cap, a Facebook user shares the response they received after reporting an image of a woman bleeding from her head with the caption, “I like her for her brains.” The response from Facebook states, “Thanks for your report. We reviewed the photo you reported, but found it doesn’t violate Facebook’s Community Standard on graphic violence, which includes depicting harm to someone or something, threats to the public’s safety, or theft and vandalism.”

For those of us who have eyes and who can read, the picture that is reported very clearly violates Facebook’s “Community Standard” on graphic violence, unless Facebook just wants to come out and say that they see women as neither people nor things worthy of being protected by their graphic-violence ban. 

As one would expect in this situation, disgust over Facebook’s blatant refusal to take down the offensive and violent images has caused a serious backlash, particularly by the group Women, Action and the Media (WAM!). The group launched a social media initiative Tuesday in order to take on the hateful images and attitudes portrayed on far too many Facebook pages. The group urges Facebook users to contact advertisers whose ads appear next to the gruesome content that’s apparently fair game on Facebook, asking them to remove their ads from Facebook until the appropriate response to these photos is given. 

Fifteen companies have already withdrawn their ads, including eReader Utopia, Nationwide UK, and Nissan UK. WAM! is still urging Facebook users to double their efforts to pressure advertisers to take down their ads, including American Express and Dove. WAM! is also encouraging social media users to continue to use the hashtag #FBrape to spread awareness of the issue. WAM! Exectuive Director Jaclyn Friedman has stated that Facebook is in discussions with the organizers of #FBrape, and while the social-media empire has taken some steps in taking down the pages highlighted by WAM!, there is still more that needs to be done. 

While Facebook has hired a team whose purpose is to respond to users who report violent images, the majority of the team finds that the images of violent acts being perpetrated against women do not violate their community standards, making it obvious that the Facebook team operates on a level that most communities would agree is not moral or right. WAM! is still pushing for complete policy change within Facebook, but until then it seems Facebook is not really committed to the “more open and connected” atmosphere they have promised to promote.