The headline alone is enough to make you ask, “TF, Facebook?”
According to a new report by the Daily Beast, women are having their accounts banned for saying things like “men are trash” in response to male trolls. This in part due to the fact that Facebook considers white men a protected group, according to an investigation conducted earlier this year. Yep.
Back in October, comic Marcia Belsky wrote “men are scum” in response to a friend’s post. Her comment was allegedly sarcastic, but her account was subsequently suspended for 30 days. Belsky is not alone. As a result of the #MeToo movement, many women have taken to Facebook to make their voices heard and express their frustrations with men, only to have their accounts banned for varying amounts of time. One person reported being locked out of their account for saying things as innocuous as “all men are ugly.” Talk about male fragility.
Boston-based comedian Kelly Avery has been banned nearly 10 times and is currently serving out her 30-day Facebook sentence and collecting stories on a site called Facebook Jailed. In once instance, she was booted off the platform before she could report one male troll who threatened to “find my house and beat me up,” she said. Late last month, a private Facebook group of about 500 female comedians decided to take matters into their own hands by posting some version of “men are scum” as a means of protest, and nearly every single one of them were banned.
What gives, Zuckerberg? Well, according to a Facebook spokesperson, these posts violate community standards. (Forget about the fact that forcefully masturbating in front of someone violates real life standards, I guess.) That community standard appears to be a double one—several users have tried posting “women are scum” and were able to get away with it without consequence, even after they had their friends report them.
All this raises some serious questions about whose side Facebook’s content moderation team is really on. However, prejudicial bias is probably not the culprit here. Important considerations like the context of a post and the poster’s demographic profile tend to get lost in the fray when reports are made and bans enforced.
Facebook is allegedly working on solving the issue, but until then, feel free to try it at home. We could all use a little break from Facebook, anyway.