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Not a Misprint

Facebook Removes Rape-Joke Pages, Still No Apology


You see them all the time on Facebook – pages users started for a laugh. It might be “Severus Snape’s Sushi and Salad Bar” or “Alfred’s Butler School For Young Men,” whatever the case, they serve little purpose and usually gain little attention. But when pages promoting sexual violence towards women started showing up – as “jokes” – a lot of people weren’t laughing. After numerous complaints and bad press, Facebook has removed several offensive pages on the social networking site, yet, they still haven’t apologized for letting them stay up for three months. What gives? 

If you haven’t already heard about the rape-joke pages, let me warn you, they run the gambit from downright crude to legitimately scary. For example, there was a Facebook page titled, “What’s 10 inches and gets girls to have sex with me? My knife.” Another, “Kicking Sluts in the Vagina.” Yes. These pages remained on the site for three months yet my friends’ innocent cosplay photos are removed for being indecent. Great policies you’ve got there, Facebook.

Although I’m hard pressed to lay the blame solely on the website, according to the BBC, a page called ”You know she’s playing hard to get when your chasing her down an alleyway,” had 194,370 likes. The BBC contacted Facebook directly about the issue back in August and the site refused to remove the offensive pages because they wanted to allow freedom of expression. Just to remind everyone, here is what it says on Facebook about content:

You will not post content that is hateful, threatening, or pornographic; incites violence; or contains nudity or graphic or gratuitous violence.

The website gave the BBC this statement:

It is very important to point out that what one person finds offensive another can find entertaining, just as telling a rude joke won’t get you thrown out of your local pub, it won’t get you thrown off Facebook.

And in a further statement Facebook said:

Groups or pages that express an opinion on a state, institution, or set of beliefs – even if that opinion is outrageous or offensive to some – do not by themselves violate our policies. These online discussions are a reflection of those happening offline, where conversations happen freely in people’s homes, in cafes and on the telephone.

A petition started on Change.org proved that many people saw things differently and would demand to be heard. There was also a Twitter campaign that used the hashtag #notfunnyfacebook to get the point across. Sony, American Express and BlackBerry have all asked their advertising be removed from the social networking site because of the incident and lack of response and it seems that only then did Facebook listen.

As of right now, the offending pages are down but Facebook has given no indication it will remove any new ones that appear, nor have they apologized for their inaction to follow their own policies. But now that the pages have been removed, the next big issue to tackle here is why Facebook felt it was ok to pass sexual violence off as entertaining. The website hasn’t made many friends with their constant privacy issues but this puts them in the hottest of hot water in my book.

(via Ms. Magazine)

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=705552663 Mitchell Schuller

    Everybody takes it different. You can still be a normal person who does not condone this behavior and still get a laugh from it.

  • Anonymous

    The main problem with these rubes on Facebook is no accountability. Believe me, if some of these things were said in a “real” public space, there would be someone taking offense and likely taking physical action.

  • http://twitter.com/GeneHoyle Gene Hoyle

    There is a fine line between taking down harmful content and censoring. I am glad that the pages are down, but then when Cosplay pages do come down because they offend someone somewhere then we have less solid ground to stand on when we object.

    I am not taking a stance here, but stating that the issue is not as black and white as it seems. I agree that pages joking about violence towards women are shameful, and have no place in my world. The thing is, there are people out there who think that an attractive Power girl pic is just as bad.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_P5PGZVFYHQAYMLSWVXYRZBNAMI shaun

    If you don’t like a page you can block it from being shown to you. Blocking it for everyone makes you a Fascist. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/macabri Mac Beauvais

    While I do understand the arguments about being careful not to overly censor other views, I feel that the pages taken down clearly violated Facebook’s own rules. (Hateful, threatening, violent, etc.) That alone should have been enough for them to take action.

  • Anonymous

    No, it means you’re running a website and can decide on what your site’s content is.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_R7GVNIKWG3S2UTHEQOMSZXT4M4 Anna B

    That appears to be the problem.  People think that just because it’s funny, it’s harmless. There are people out there who don’t consider ideas of the same vein to be a joke–that is, some people actually think along the lines of: Some women deserve to get raped, women just need to be taught how to enjoy sex by forcing them to do it a few times, that it isn’t rape if the woman doesn’t remember it. A Rape Jokes community just makes such wackos think that it isn’t seriously wrong.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-Potter/100001215702905 Michael Potter

    Facebook didn’t respond to morals, they responded to their money being taken away.  Google+ is only one click away too.

  • Anonymous

    I am forever amazed by Facebook – they ban breastfeeding support pages, remove images of women nursing their babies (and I know some of the photos that were taken down – it was obvious what was happening but you couldn’t actually see anything!) but Violence is acceptable?! Normal healthy human interaction is offensive but this sort of thing IS?!

    It is sad.  I personally have no problem with my kids seeing breastfeeding, a little bit of nudity…in context – no problem…but violence – Nah I don’t want them exposed to that!

  • http://www.facebook.com/sdmcpherson Stephen Dudley McPherson

    I’ve seen pages like this before and they’re disgusting. Sad thing is, people I know make jokes like this and people find them funny. There’s nothing funny about anyone being raped.

  • http://www.facebook.com/1shewolf JoAnna Luffman

    For some of us, gallows humor is what gets us through when something bad happens. One has to know their audience, though. For example, when my father passed (and I miss him every day) mom and I were making various jokes – some about the situation, some not. Because if we didn’t, we both would have been completely useless. But when we had people around, we stopped, because they wouldn’t have understood. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Olivia-Hinkel/1169130206 Olivia Hinkel

    The thing here is, a lot of you want to be like “it’s a joke, it should be taken as one.”  But a joke is funny.  Some people might find rape jokes amusing, but the truth is: It isn’t funny.  Rape isn’t funny.  Ever.  Rape is serious.  It’s a serious crime, it’s a serious trauma, it’s a serious issue.  It isn’t funny, and it isn’t a joke, and people who regard it as a joke need to face reality.