Urge Facebook to Cull Violent and Sexist Content


Target: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

Goal: Demand real and effective action against violent and abusive content on Facebook

Recently, advocacy groups for women’s rights began a campaign against Facebook’s cavalier attitude towards pages that featured brutal images of battered, abused, terrified, and even dead women next to insulting captions such as “Next time don’t get pregnant” or “don’t wrap it and tap it, tape her and rape her”. Some of the pages were dedicated to violence against women and children, such as “slapping hookers in the face with a shoe”, or simply, “Rapist Community”.

These pages and images were reported to Facebook, over and over again. Users who reported the images were repeatedly told that the content did not abuse Facebook’s standard guidelines on graphic content, even though Facebook’s Statements of Rights and Responsibilities specifically prohibits hate speech. Meanwhile, images of breastfeeding or cancer survivors’ proud mastectomy photos were routinely and swiftly removed due to “pornographic content” or “violation of the terms of use”.

When activists groups such as the Every Sexism Project and Women, Action, and the Media fought back by sending advertisers screenshots of their product being advertised next to the violent and graphic images of abuse, Facebook responded by pledging to remove all advertisements from pages with violent or adult content. To put it another way, Facebook has effectively removed any leverage that women’s rights groups ever had against pages with sexist, abusive, threatening content, and masqueraded it as sympathy for those disturbed or triggered by the images. These pages are being manually edited. If this is possible, why aren’t the pages themselves being removed?

While Facebook has issued a statement pledging to refine its approach to this sort of content, their track record of only addressing the problem once it affected their wallets does not inspire confidence, especially now that the ads are being removed from offensive pages. Please sign this petition to tell Facebook that removing the ads is not enough, and to urge them to continue to impose stricter guidelines for the sort of content allowed in such a public forum.


Dear Mark Zuckerberg,

Facebook historically has a real problem removing images of graphic violence against women and children. These triggering images inflict real emotional distress and damage on victims of abuse. Your pledge recently to remove ads from these images simply removes the leverage that women’s advocacy groups have against your corporation.

You have cleverly manipulated the issue to suit your own needs while ignoring those of the millions of women who use your site daily. Considering the swiftness and dexterity with which images of breastfeeding and mastectomies are removed from the site, it is clear that Facebook has the power to remove these pages and images but regularly chooses not to, for whatever reason.

Seeing as the ads are being removed from these pages manually, I urge you to use this time to remove the pages permanently, and to purge your site of its threatening and abusive content. It’s not enough to remove the ads. You must stand with women to remove this dangerous content.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: MoneyBlogNewz via Flickr

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