I’m an administrator of a page who addresses women’s issues all around the world with a focus on sexual violence. Since I signed up for this position I experienced some unacceptable behaviour from Facebook.
Some time ago, I started to report pages and pictures on Facebook who clearly promoted rape, child abuse and violence towards women. I was really surprised and shocked after finding out Facebook didn’t remove some of the reported pictures and claimed they did not have abusive content. And I was even more surprised after Facebook decided to allow some abusive pages to exist under the name of ‘controversial humour. For example: the page ‘raping babies is funny’.
After I started to report some content Facebook started blocking me. At first it was a couple of hours, days and then I was blocked the first time for one month. The reason given by Facebook was a post that included nudity which I honestly never posted on my page. The second time I was blocked for 30 days it was because I posted a link to a photography project that included some nudity. I admit, I was violating the terms of the social network that time, but 30 days seemed overrated in contrast to the many abusive pictures I reported before and did not get removed.
Two weeks ago, half of my page was deleted: all private messages, every post from the last 6 weeks, a great amount of wall posts by fans, and more than 500 pictures (200 timeline pictures which did not violate any terms and album of more than 300 pictures of women from different cultures all around the world in traditional clothing which also didn’t violate any terms).
I contacted Facebook. Their response: ‘We found some posts which included URLs previously marked as abusive which caused them to be deleted. (…),’ claiming the content was restored. But none of the content was restored and the response suggests that everything that gets reported gets automatically deleted. If that was the case Facebook wouldn’t be a contribution to the growing rape culture.
I asked for a better explanation. Their new response: ‘Nothing has been removed from the page in recent days.’ I explained this clearly was not the case and up till now I got no real explanation for what happened. After contacting Facebook, I was blocked again for 30 days. This time, no reason was given.
A couple of days ago I received a message from a supported of the page asking why he was blocked. Looking at the ban list, I found out many pages that support us, and many people who often comment on our posts were put on that list.
It is clear to me that Facebook doesn’t appreciate people who actively report disturbing content, confronting them with their policy and try to silence them by making them incapable of being active on the social networksite.
After posting the news article & video with Trista’s story yesterday I got a lot of feedback from other female admins of pages about women’s issues who experienced the same as her: death threats of bullies or trolls and being blocked by Facebook because of reporting abusive content and exposing the contribution of Facebook to the rape culture.
With this blog I want to make a call to other feminist admins and collect similar stories. Are you an admin of a page promoting women’s rights, try to diminish the large content of abusive content towards women and children on Facebook and get censored for it by the Facebook's head quarter? Send us your story/ experiences and we will post it on this blogspot in order to expose Facebook’s real policy and strategy.
Or you not an admin but experiencing exactly the same? Feel also welcome to share your story.
If you receive any death threats make sure to contact your local police office.
Stay safe & strong!