Facebook and Twitter Crack Down on Hate Speech
The companies are trying to strike a difficult balance between protecting freedom of expression for users while also creating an open and welcoming community.
With the increasing international use of social media, these companies are also learning how to deal with foreign free-speech laws that are often harsher than America’s.
Facebook accused of allowing anti-women content
Facebook came under fire in May for allowing groups to promote violent and hateful rhetoric against women.
Groups with names like “Violently Raping Your Friends Just For Laughs” posted content that included pictures of women beaten, bruised, tied up, drugged and bleeding, with captions such as… ‘Next time don’t get pregnant.’
In response, concerned users convinced advertisers like Dove to pull their advertisements from the site until the content was removed. Dove, whose advertising campaigns promote female empowerment and self-esteem, released a statement saying, “we are working with Facebook to prevent our ads from appearing on these pages.”
“Women, Action, and The Media,” a women’s rights group that wrote an open letter that started the movement, objected to Facebook policies that blocked images of women after a mastectomy or breast-feeding a baby, but allowed “Violently Raping Your Friends Just For Laughs” to continue.
Facebook’s initial response was that these accounts did not violate the terms of service.
After a large social media push in which users tweeted using the hashtag #FBrape, 15 companies removed their advertising from the site. Facebook responded, saying that they would reevaluate their policies.