Facebook – Shouldnt You Start Defending The Decent

Facebook, where creating a fake account is more offensive then pro-rape, child exploitation and pranksters making fun of a child who has gone missing…

Do you “like” this? Read the attached article from the Privacy and Security Guide, then comment with your opinion..

~Black Knight

From  http://facebookprivacyandsecurity.wordpress.com/2012/04/29/facebook-shouldnt-you-start-defending-the-decent/

Freedom of speech. It’s a powerful phrase. A human right under Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, recognised as an International Human Rights law, and covered by the first amendment to the United States Constitution. People should be free to say what they like.

But, there are also rules which add a ‘within reason‘ clause. If someone makes up a lie about another, they could find themselves subject to a lawsuit. If someone verbally threatens another, they could be questioned by the authorities. If a school child shouts abuse at a teacher or classmate, they will be sent to the Principal, and Mom will be waiting in the car after getting a phone call. She has that white ‘you’re in for it’ upper-lip, and it’s a very long jelly-legged walk to the car. If somone unleashes a stream of profanity-filled spite at their co-workers, they might get an official warning or at the very least be forced to apologize if there were mitigating circumstances.

What I’m trying to say here, is democracy gives us the right to say whatever we want. It also says that we should choose our words carefully, and prepare for consequences if we abuse that power.

Except on Facebook.

It seems on Facebook, people can get away with saying almost anything, and Facebook will defend it.
Facebook has Terms of Service which are supposed to cover its users actions towards others while using it;

You will not post content or take any action on Facebook that infringes or violates someone else’s rights or otherwise violates the law.
We can remove any content or information you post on Facebook if we believe that it violates this Statement.
You will not post content that: is hateful, threatening, or pornographic; incites violence; or contains nudity or graphic or gratuitous violence.

So when pages appeared on Facebook which advocated rape, and people began writing vile jokes about abusive sex and violence towards women, you would have thought that Facebook would take them down instantly.

No. Instead, a spokesperson told the BBC;

“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,”

Dear spokesperson. Our children use Facebook because you welcome people aged 13 upwards, and you are defending people’s right to joke about rape and violence because they might hear it in the pub? Approximately 30% of Facebook users aren’t old enough to drink in pubs and bars. Please remember that the next time you make an ass out of yourself.

I am not going to post any of the comments made by these pages – the page titles alone should have been enough for this spokesperson to have realize the threads of decency were well and truly cut. One such page was titled ‘Abducting, raping and violently murdering your friend, as a joke‘. We can only assume that by adding the words, ‘as a joke’, immunity was automatically granted.

It the end, it took a massive Twitter campaign, petitions with almost 200k signatures, media outrage of Facebook’s lack of action, and two long months before Facebook begrudgingly bowed to the pressure and removed them.

The football club Manchester United recently attacked Facebook’s refusal to remove a page called ‘I like to Munich Munich’, featuring sick taunts about the Munich Air Disaster, which killed 23 people – 8 of whom were United players. Facebook refused to remove the page which at the time had 1200 ‘Likes’, stating that its rules were not broken;

‘Facebook is a place where people can openly discuss issues and say what they think, governed by reasonable rules.’ ‘Some 845 million people use the site around the world, meaning there will always be views that some people find offensive.’

And today we find that Facebook approves of a page which mocks Madeleine McCann, the little girl abducted in 2007. The page which had already collected 404 ‘Likes’, was removed after Facebook was alerted to it. But get this. Not because of the content, but because it was created by a fake profile! A source at Facebook said;

“The page itself does not breach Facebook’s community standards. “The page is intended to be humorous and the target of the humour – Madeleine McCann – is a public figure. As a result, it does not breach our terms.”

Image from Daily Record

Can you please tell me what is funny about a missing child? And can you please explain to me how creating a fake profile is wrong in the eyes of Facebook, but creating a page with sickening comments mocking a missing child isn’t?

Every day that Facebook allowed the disgusting comments on the Munich page to build was another day that Facebook was effectively saying to those 1200 people ‘Hey, it’s ok to post this stuff – you’re entitled to your opinion’. Every day that pro-rape pages were defended as pub humour was another day that people saying utterly vile things may as well have been told ‘Carry on’. And a Facebook employee stating that a page which mocks a missing child is humorous and doesn’t breach its terms is frankly obscene. Facebook, you’re not in a Harvard dorm room anymore making sick jokes about creating sites comparing women to farm animals.

Freedom of speech is of paramount importance, and I will defend that right always. Everyone has the right to say whatever they want, but they also know right back from those jelly-legged days that there are consequences when you abuse that power. There is the phrase – if you don’t like it, don’t look. A coward made up this phrase. When someone says or does something which crosses the line, decent people will always, always, always take a stand. And if they can’t make it right themselves, they will look to the people who can. And in these cases, Facebook are the people who can. We know it’s difficult to draw a line, but when something creates mass revulsion, then quite simply the line has been crossed.

Facebook, a decent person will apologise if something they say offends someone, even if they didn’t realize so at the time. A decent person makes mistakes, swears, tells rude jokes, and laughs at things they probably shouldn’t. A decent person is your mother or father. The people who once turned your legs to jelly because you said something dreadful, and you were taught that it was wrong. A decent person is reading this article. And they want to know that if someone creates a page which mocks the dead or advocates rape, that you will remove it without question. Not refuse and instead defend that persons right to speak.

We know that Facebook doesn’t want to censor. We don’t want to feel that we can’t laugh and joke and be a bit naughty with our Facebook friends. Some people find swearing or innuendo offensive, however some words are now far more acceptable socially than they were 40 years ago. And people who deplore profanity and innuendo are very unlikely to use Facebook. Jokes about the violently raping women will never be acceptable to decent people in any time period. Pages which mock the dead or missing children, vile comments about raping women – these actions are undefendable. And when executives at Facebook attempt to defend them, they too become undefendable. And they too appear just as vile. The content should be removed without question, without a media campaign, and without thousands of people left bewildered as to why Facebook would say raping a woman is pub humour. If I was in a pub and someone made jokes about raping women, my party would walk away and leave them on their own. Most decent people would do the same. And I assume that the parents of the spokesperson who defended it would too.

If Facebook’s ‘reasonable rules’ don’t cover this type of behaviour, if Facebook’s ‘reasonable rules’ place more importance on a fake profile than a page mocking a missing child, then its rules are not reasonable at all, and I would suggest that they need to change.

And I think most decent people would agree with me.
If you agree with what I’ve said here – please share it. Talk about it. And someone please hand it to a spokesperson at Facebook.

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