The recent Twitter campaign by WAM! to tell Facebook how to operate your social media site has caused great concern for a group of people at least as large as those who presented their complaint to you. WAM! does not speak for all women.
Do not let it fall aside that WAM! essentially used your competition to attack you. They did not spend their precious time scouring Twitter for evidence of equal violations or, if they did, made a choice of which site there were going to attack. No one doubts that any sexism occurring on Facebook is mirrored on Twitter, they are just being asked to ignore it for political purposes. Their campaign has a hashtag, not a “like” button.
The late Aaron Swartz said:
There is a battle going on right now. A battle to define everything that happens on the internet in terms of traditional things that the law understands… is the freedom to connect like freedom of speech or the freedom to murder? The way we answer these questions will shape the next era of our society. No, the next era of our entire planet. They’ll determine whether new technology will enhance and entrench our civil liberties or whether it will simply gut them. Will these computers we have all around us be a tool for human liberty or the most powerful tools for social control? The answers are up to us.
It is well known and indisputable that current guidelines on rating content allow violence in abundance compared to the exposure of sexually oriented flesh. I see no evidence that Facebook is taking on different guidelines than the government sanctioned censorship boards. Kicking a man in the groin or outright threatening to castrate him is currently acceptable comedy to today’s standards. It’s not even called “edgy.” Jennifer Aniston recently kicked a guy in the nutsack just to get more “hits” for a Smartwater ad and not only does #Fbrape not care, they helped deliver the predicted “likes.” It is selective tunnel vision on the part of this campaign.
If WAM! dislikes the current definitions of what is PG rated vs R they need to take that up with the censorship boards who can then announce a change in guidelines to Facebook, Twitter, the film and television industries and all other concerned parties. To claim that Facebook is the generator of censorship standards is more than intellectually dishonest, it smells like a hashtag funded way make the newspapers with an easier target. Now let’s focus on their method.
Their method of complaining to your advertisers is even more obtuse. The only reason those adverts appeared on the page is because the person screen-capping it clicked on the link and went looking for the objectionable content. The FBrape campaign, like so many other ill constructed feminist protests that seek to make a spectacle of themselves, failed to recognize their own agency in their problem. They seem to not understand how the internet works. They present women as if we are helpless creatures that can’t resist clicking on a link or can’t get over the emotional trauma of having seen something we didn’t like. They presume women are incapable of figuring out how to block someone from our news feed.
When you click on things you give them power. When you write about things you don’t like you give them power they didn’t have prior to your words and attention. When they went looking for bad jokes about beating women up they took the advertisers with them. The corporations complained to should actually be angry with the complainers for being so stupid as to cause their adverts appear on the page they clicked.
Facebook has a choice to make.
#FBrape (don’t forget the hashtag) is singling you out as the only social media site they worry about and telling you that they want you to censor your site in a way not demanded of anyone else and in a way that only worries about one gender. If you believe them, women should only be allowed to use Facebook while supervised.
They aren’t worried about the page that declares all Facebook executives should be castrated (presumably they’d cut off Sandberg’s tits if they thought about it long enough) because they are actually not worried about your future, they are only worried about justifying their own future. They are a business. This is how they pay their bills. WAM! is out of a job if they don’t find someone to pick on. Right now they’ve aimed their desperate arrow at you. That the very campaigns they launch result in the backlash postings they find so offensive is not an issue for them because it keeps them in business.
What do you think will happen if you let them dictate who is allowed to say, what is funny and what isn’t and simultaneously kowtow to the twitter campaign? This is not about social justice, this is about politics and there is a lot at stake.
I don’t envy anyone at Facebook right now. We know that when women set their sights on a target they strap on their biggest asset and wield their voting power. The issue at hand is not about whether Facebook approves of misogyny, it’s about whether or not Facebook will do what feminists tell them to do. That choice is ultimately yours but you need to know that feminists are not the only women watching to see how you run your company.