Facebook: Page advocating murder of feminist blogger “doesn’t violate our community standard on bullying and harassment.”


Several months ago, you may recall, feminist activists got Facebook to agree to remove blatant sexist hate speech from its site — much to the chagrin of many Men’s Rights Activists, like Paul Elam of A Voice for Men, who declared, in a post filled with alarmist rhetoric, that “feminist ideologues are co-opting Facebook, and they will root out any and all opposition to their worldview.” AVFM’s John Hembling, meanwhile, denounced the feminist activists as “fascists.”

Ever since then, Men’s Rights activists have been playing a game of “gotcha” with Facebook, trying to prove that the hate-speech monitors there only care about misogynist hate speech, and don’t actually care about hate speech directed at men. Every few days, it seems, there is a new thread in the Men’s Rights subreddit purporting to document this alleged “double standard.”

Ten days ago, for example, a Men’s Rights Redditor called dizzy_j got nearly 400 upvotes for a post complaining that “I reported three anti-men Facebook pages for gender-based hate speech today. Only one was removed.”  Six days ago,  DerDietrich got 580 upvotes for submitting this supposed evidence of a double standard. Trouble is, you can’t actually prove a double standard with a handful of examples.

But I would like to suggest an alternate hypothesis, which also fits the anecdotal data provided thus far by the MRAs, and provide an additional piece of anecdotal evidence that supports my theory and undercuts theirs.

My hypothesis is that Facebook is shitty at recognizing and dealing with hate speech and harassment, no matter whom it’s aimed at.

My evidence for this? Well, yesterday bloggers at Skepchick noticed a Facebook page targeting a specific feminist/skeptic blogger and asking if she “should … be murdered.” The anonymous poster — who identified her by name and posted pictures of her on the page — coyly avoided a literal call for murder, writing instead:

We should not ever break the law. Rather, we should advocate , through lawful land constitutional processes, to have the law changed so that it is legal to kill [name redacted by DF]. Alternatively, we should, where legal, request that [name redacted by DF] kill herself. Relevant laws should be changed so that suicide, and advocating suicide, is legal.

The Skepchick bloggers reported the page to Facebook for its obvious violations of the site’s harassment policies.

And they received this reply from Facebook (I’ve covered up the blogger’s name):


I think it’s fair to say that if Facebook can’t recognize a page calling for the literal murder of someone as harassment there is something very wrong with its system for dealing with harassment and hate speech.

The page has since been taken down, though it’s not clear if it was removed by Facebook or by the original anonymous Facebooker.

Get your act together, Facebook.

About David Futrelle

I run the blog We Hunted the Mammoth, which tracks (and mocks) online misogyny. My writing has appeared in a wide variety of places, including Salon, Time.com, the Washington Post, the New York Times Book Review and Money magazine. I like cats.

Posted on October 6, 2013, in a voice for men, actual activism, advocacy of violence, antifeminism, are these guys 12 years old?, conspiracy theory, douchebaggery, facebook censoring rape memes the world is ending oh no, gross incompetence, harassment, hundreds of upvotes, imaginary oppression, johntheother, men who should not ever be with women ever, misandry, misogyny, MRA, not-quite-explicit threats, not-quite-plausible deniability, paul elam, reddit, threats and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 113 Comments.

  1. Facebook outsources its moderation to a company called oDesk, which pays people in third world countries $1 an hour to sift through an enormous number of complaints (around 250,000 per hour). For that dollar, they have to sift through a lot of whinging (“This fish looks like male genitalia and I have small children who might see it”; “I don’t think God would allow this”; etc.) but also really, really horrific acts (TW) – beheadings, mutilations, child molestation, war crimes, bestiality, necrophilia, all the sewage of the world. They probably spend an average of about 5 seconds evaluating each complaint. It takes a huge psychological toll on them. Turnover is frequent.

    This is one of the reasons that it enrages me that the report tool is so often used just to silence discussion. As if the really horrific things aren’t bad enough, they then have to waste time reading through someone saying “maybe Jesus didn’t exist at all?” because, hey, that’s the real abuse here! I mean, sure, it provides jobs and that’s great, jobs are a good thing, but what a job… switching between absolute horror, and the very definition of first world problems.
    I wonder what the derogatory term is for someone who oppresses rich first worlders by thinking that it’s appalling to pay someone $1 an hour? Is it just communist?

    It’s not as if any real bad publicity could come out of it – who is going to complain to the media that their page calling for race war or discussing whether a writer should be killed was suppressed by a private organisation?

    The MRM? They managed to get enough people whining about feminazi fascism that some of them would probably try to get media attention for it.
    “They tried to stop me threatening to murder teenagers for rejecting my advances! What has the world come to that such fascism is the norm!?”
    And fox news would publish, favourably.

  2. Katz — you can screen over the pond to prevent raccoon buffet. Except I’m sure raccoons would find a way around it. If they’re a serious risk, I’d just fill it and plant it and see what shows up (e.g. frogs!)

  3. What gets me? FB used to be useful. I had a college account when they first launched and by all the gods was it lovely to select which courses you were in and be able to go “hey, I missed the homework, what was it?”

  4. What gets me? FB used to be useful. I had a college account when they first launched and by all the gods was it lovely to select which courses you were in and be able to go “hey, I missed the homework, what was it?”

    When was this? I remember it being less useless when I first made my account there, back in the mists of 2007, but useful? I don’t remember that.
    Luckily we have sites like coursera now… ok, they don’t let you get the homework for your realworld classes, but they’re good for onlineworld class homeworks.

  5. Argenti Aertheri

    2003-2004, I don’t remember if it was before or after Christmas break, but it was my freshman year.

  6. Oh yeah, back when it was college-only, Facebook was nice. There was no Wall or anything yet so there was just a limited ability to be obnoxious.

    Then they added the news feed and it all went to hell. That was their first big “FU” to users: Suddenly everything your friends did was showing up in the middle of your page, you couldn’t turn it off, and there were no privacy controls. None.

  7. Am I the only one who finds Facebook useful still? I keep in touch with lots of friends in other parts of the country or different countries that way. Plus I have a dog group, a feminist group and a vegan group there with interesting discussions.

  8. I still use Facebook, because it makes it easier to keep up with people who are far away. Plus the Reddit meetup group I joined when I moved here migrated over to Facebook for easier scheduling, and is now so far divorced from its Reddit origins that most people were never Redditors to begin with, and actively denigrate the awfulness of Reddit, flat-out.

    Anyways, I’m awful at keeping in touch with people, and it’s still a useful tool for that, but I still use Social Fixer (which is I guess a little bit like Tumblr Savior, but for Fb), and also keep a really close eye on my privacy settings, since I’ve had… issues… with disclosure of things I’d rather not have disclosed to certain people before.

  9. It’s the fact that it allows people far away to keep up with you that I dislike about Facebook. Family members who I rarely talk to for a reason keep trying to friend me, and then it’s awkward because my dad asks why I’m not approving them.

  10. Yeah, Facebook isn’t what I think of as a fun place at all; but it’s where I know I can go to find out what all my friends are doing, so it’s still my primary social media.

  11. Yeah… I’m on my second Facebook account. The first one I had, people from high school and stuff got in touch with me, people I didn’t want to keep in touch with. Eventually I closed the account down. Like a year later or so I opened a new account, and so far (been several years now) it’s working.

  12. Yeah, I had that problem too, Cassandra. So what I did was make a category of “friends” that can see literally nothing that I post, and the absolute minimum of my personal information, and stuck everyone I’m related to into that group.

    This was after my grandmother, who I wasn’t even “friends” with, logged onto my cousin’s account and creeped on my photos, which *gasp* included pics of my annual Halloween venture out to the campus production of Rocky Horror. Which apparently necessitated that she write up a whole bunch of outraged emails, not just to me, but also to my parents (I think I was 21 when this happened?), about how I’m an awful slutty slut slut who’ll regret my slutty ways in the future when I can’t get a job because of this (despite my photos not being, y’know, public… and besides that, my thinking is that any employer who so objected to some photos of me in a corset and skirt with a Darth Vader helmet with no “naughty bits” exposed is probably not an employer I’d want to work for, really)…

  13. Facebook’s where all my aunts and uncles swap grandbaby photos, so I am kind of required to keep it up and keep posting my photos, even when one of my cousins keeps posting KENYAN USURPER bullcrap. His latest is PROOF! PROOF!! that one “Barack Obama Hussein II” was born in Kenya.

    Also, it just sunk in that I once met and played some D&D with a gay-married Episcopalian preacher-man with whom I am Facebook acquaintances.

  14. I’ll give FB this — it’s how my pharm student and I ended up back in touch. Ze posted about an apt in the building being open, when I was looking for one, couldn’t afford it but we got to talking…and talking…and talking…and a string of “fuck it’s late” nights…and yeah, I don’t get the whole “managing to talk him into a chick flick” // “talk her into letting me go to the bar” thing either. I do get “holy shit you’ve heard of [band]?!?” and “oWoD, definitely”…and converting zir to a Whovian… (gotta start people with Pompeii, not Blink!)

    See this gushing thing I’m doing? It’s cuz of FB, that was my point before I started gushing…

  15. I used to not like Fires of Pompeii and then I realized — the power of the episode is not in the alien menace. They’re kind of naff aliens anyway.

    No, the really impressive thing about Pompeii is Donna and how she gets the Doctor to save one family — just one! — from the disaster.

    … it might have been more impressive if the Doctor didn’t have a fifty-year history of gleefully Getting Involved.

  16. And my first thought for “guess what we found”? “Bricks”, because pecunoum’s backyard garden is full of them.

    That too. The pond was under the bricks and concrete.

  17. Lol, it’s tile here — my mother had the bathroom floor redone 30~ years ago, we’re still finding tiles!

    Falconer — that, and “don’t worry about us” — how she doesn’t just go along with him, she honestly shares his save the world goal. Also…Pompeii…it had to happen, preventing it would’ve been worse. It’s one of those moments that helps explain why 10 is so jaded.

  18. Lol @ the 180 degree turn onto Dr Who. (Not that I’m complaining, 10 and Donna are my faves)

  19. SittieKitty — I really ahould’ve known better as any mention of Doctor Who around here turns into a discussion of the show.

  20. I used to have a hate-on for the ending of Waters of Mars, because in my opinion, he was being extremely un-clever*, but a friend turned it around for me by pointing out that he was always at his most clever when he has a Companion (regardless of their relationship). He needs that other person to serve as sounding board/audience. Without it, he tends to drift. This worked for me.

    *: To-wit [spoilers!]–the woman could just as easily have been dropped off in some other, future era, allowing her to see the universe that her legacy had created. Hell, that could still happen, with a current incarnation going back, fetching her in a fashion that causes her to fire that blaster we see (thereby preventing paradox) and then whisking her away. She goes back to being assumed ‘Dead on Mars’ and everyone gets inspired and so on.

  21. I tend to think that a Companion is something of a need for Time Lords (or at least Dr Who). Like water, food, shelter, ect I think a Companion is necessary regardless of the relationship and without them Time Lords are missing something essential.

  22. converting zir to a Whovian… (gotta start people with Pompeii, not Blink!)

    What kind of monster are you!? Unearthly Child or GTFO!
    I love Doctor ten so much… so, so much (though, saying that, I only saw the Martha series a week ago) but S1E1 is just beautiful. Granted, S1E2-4 are a bit iffy, but you watch episode 1, and then you shift forward to the Daleks! I like the way 11 reminds me of 1… such a conniving old man. The face kinda fits that too, young, sure, but much, much too big… in a good way, but still. I do love that Doc 12 is going to be The Angel fucking Islington though! Cannot wait to see him step into those sexy shoes. I was prepared to be upset that he was neither female nor non-white, but then it was him and EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE, or at least the grinny equivalent thereof.

    That thing with the “fuck it’s late” nights and the talking and talking though… yeah, I owe facebook for that one. I really hope that happens more than once in a lifetime. I think that’s why I still have an account there to be honest. Well, that and the handful of facebook people I really want to keep in touch with – probably a dozen outside of family.

  23. Athywren, did you ever see Capaldi in The History of Tom Brown, the one made in the 90s? He played Lord Fellamar, the slimiest of slimes ever. His final confrontation with the mighty Brian Blessed was a joy to behold.

    Imagine Brian Blessed as Dr Who … what companion could ever cope with that? :D


    I actually haven’t seen The History of Tom Brown (I’m guessing that’s Tom Brown of the Schooldays?) but I’ll have to look it up now that you’ve alerted me to it… I heart the pair of them in all their forms….
    HAH! Holy humorous coincidence, Batman! Capaldi was in World War Z, playing the role of a World Health Org Doctor. :3 I wonder if that is a coincidence? WHO conspiracy? Are FEMA in on this!? Dun-dun-dunnnnnnnnnn!

  25. Pompeii is 10!

    And I like S1E1 but it gets all…there’s no hook? Maybe part of it is that I know Pompeii, as a historical thing, is of interest to most of my friends — those of us who’ve taken at least some Latin strongly outnumber those who haven’t. So take roman history, blame it on aliens, get 10 all “I caused this” and then end with Donna “but you can save somebody”? It’s a recipe for insta-love!

    …there are a couple others I love, but I’m in favor of the starting at the beginning of new who.

    S1E1 just doesn’t have enough of the Doctor’s personality? (And Blink, while great, has almost no Doctor and you need a base level of Timey Whimey for it to make sense)

    Also, Pompeii was my first episode, and clearly it worked on me ^.^

    In other things, my Tremere is in Prince Pain in the Ass’s tower with intent to kill. I hint I’m trying that mod next cuz SALUBRI! So thanks for that.

  26. Would it not be the best? The unbearable best? Except they’d have to end the series forever after that.

    Akk, I mucked up the name. This wasn’t Tom of the Schooldays, it was Tom Jones – my bad. The Henry Fielding novel from the 1700s. Brian Blessed is Squire Weston, the heroine Sophie’s bellowing, brawling, drunken father. I’ve never seen him chew the scenery so much, it was WONDERFUL.

    This is a little clip of him and Capaldi:

    And this is my absolute favourite scene from the whole series:

  27. Heh, that challenge… I can’t help but be reminded of Robin Hood: Men In Tights:

    The other video was really hard though… on one hand, I find it really hard to believe that people can behave that way, on the other, I dated a girl for a year or so when I was 19ish who has since been diagnosed with a form of bi-polar disorder, so it brought back some really painful memories. I’ll make a note of it and see if I can find it… and a reminder to steel myself for that next time.

    S1E1 just doesn’t have enough of the Doctor’s personality? (And Blink, while great, has almost no Doctor and you need a base level of Timey Whimey for it to make sense)

    True…. but he was a blank slate back then… I can see the argument to getting started with the reboot, just because it’s more geared toward a modern audience. I think my favourite Doctor is Sylvester McCoy, but even he doesn’t really have that same cinematic tv feel that Doctor “Lots of planets have a north!” had from the start… I’m not really sure why, because Robin of Sherwood had it, at least to some degree, and they’re fairly contemporary to each other.
    And I kinda love Blink, though I will admit, full disclosure, I have a bit of a fanboy thing for Carey Mulligan (My pre-reveal hopes for Dr 12? Carey Mulligan, Paterson Joseph, Ellie Kendrick. Not actually out of any "the next Doctor needs to be a woman or person of colour" feeling, though it would be good, it's just because they're all awesome and would be brilliant, in my opinion.) so that may influence that. I think it might be one of the best episodes that's dealt with the Timey Whimeyness though. That scene with the hidden easter egg conversation? That's pretty cool. "How do you know what I'm saying?" "Look to your right." "Yeah, I think that's a comment about the state of modern politics and…" *staaaare* "…oh…"

    In other things, my Tremere is in Prince Pain in the Ass’s tower with intent to kill. I hint I’m trying that mod next cuz SALUBRI! So thanks for that.

    Don’t!… open it.
    My Salubri is currently being very unhappy in the hotel… I’ve been busy in daylight over the last few days and… umm…. she’s afraid of ghosts. It’s not me that’s afraid you understand, I’m a skeptic and an atheist and a rational person so I don’t get creeped the fuck out by such things in any way… except for when I do… *cough*
    I really am impressed by the way the mod’s working, though. It’s added a couple of characters, and the ones I’ve encountered are, though not seamless, pretty well integrated. The increased blood usage is balanced out with slightly more populated streets, but that also increases the risk of being spotted… it’s fun! Oh, and the Salubri do get less of a benefit from unwilling meals… which, I imagine, will make combat zones interesting when I finally reach one. (Beach house doesn’t count – my rules are very clear on this: No women, no children, no gangs of drug & explosives dealers who beat my newly met friend half to death for the sake of a couple of hundred dollars. Odd prosthetics-making guys are fair game, of course.)

  28. That Robin Hood scene is like the Fish-Slapping Dance. :D

    I wish I could find a clip of the way the Weston/Fellamar duel actually happens. Remember the scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark where Indy shoots the guy who’s been waving his sword around? It’s much more fun when it’s Brian Blessed with the gun.

  29. Remember the scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark where Indy shoots the guy who’s been waving his sword around? It’s much more fun when it’s Brian Blessed with the gun.

    You know you’d already sold me on it, right? Oh hell, I need to see that! In my mind, he’s also bellowing, “BOOOOOM!!!!” as he pulls the trigger… am I close? :3

  30. Oh I go kill-bot on the beach house, because any gang cooking up that kind of explosives deserves it, for the sake of humanity (cuz yeah, you met Mercurio five minutes ago)

    The mod just adds the clans right? So I can just add it atop my copy?

    No women…except Ming-Xiao and Jezebel Locke? (There are children…living // undead children…in the game? The ghost kids don’t count)

  31. He doesn’t yell BOOM but he does make scary growling noises from a dark alley just before he appears …

  32. The mod just adds the clans right? So I can just add it atop my copy?

    There are other gameplay tweaks as well. I think it’s based on the community patches, but I haven’t checked them against each other to get a note of the differences. And it replaces the clans – that’s why I have two separate installs. It copied straight over my copy though, so I’m going to say yes.

    No women…except Ming-Xiao and Jezebel Locke? (There are children…living // undead children…in the game? The ghost kids don’t count)

    Well… they’re really more like guidelines.
    (I’m a vampire! Fuck the rules! BLEARH!)

  33. Scary growly noises sound fun from the Blessed one! I’m gonna have to watch it… but first I’m gonna have to sleep – it’s 4am on a school night! O_O;

  34. Niters! :)

  35. G’night!
    I mean…. ZZZZZZZZ

  36. I’ll go two copies then, it’s screwy enough as it is, cuz mac. Thanks!

    And yeah, guidelines, cuz fucking fuck Ming and her tentacles!

  37. I quite like using Facebook because my friends and family are scattered all over, and also I use it for uni society stuff. It is handy to have so much in one place. I use a fake name on FB and a profile pic that is an animal, which has really helped keep away people I don’t want to add me. It isn’t that hard for a determined stalker to work it out, but it does stop people (ex school mates, certain ex bfs in particular) seeing my name show up in comments somewhere and go “Ohhhh, poke/message/friendrequest/bother” on a whim. I don’t like facecbooks attitude though…I wish there was a less dickish alternative.

    As for ‘letting’ your partner do things, I HATE that kind of talk. In some cases I suppose you could be ‘letting’ them do things (use my paintbrushes? borrow my nail polish?) but really, ‘letting’ them go out with friends or have hobbies…is just, urgh. It is so annoying to hear people talk about things that way. Gets me a bit especially cause my ex was all ‘Oh she let me come out’ ‘I’ll see if i’m allowed to go to this’. Referring to me as a ‘ball and chain’ and a witch and stuff like that…I never tried to stop him doing stuff, ever. We didn’t even live together! There was just this weird expectation that I should object to him going to the pub alone and that I should want to ‘keep an eye on him’ all the time. I went out to stuff and travelled without him all the time and it made me feel a bit weird, like he thought he was ‘letting’ me out without him and I would stop if he decided he didn’t like it anymore or something…made me a bit uneasy.

  38. Aaand didn’t mean to try to make it into the ‘all about Monster’ thread.

  39. Frankly, a thread all about monsters is a cool thing. How awesome. Is the Monster better now, in a happier place? I hope so.

    Facebook is a useful tool. I share about as much of my personal life there as I do here. If you are now going: “But who the hell are you, Fibi?” or “… Yes, and I wish you’d stop with the personal stuff, I don’t care”; either of those two approaches work! Or anything in between.

    Which is to say my profile picture is a *cat* and I only ever post quotes from books, then use it to book events for the company I work for. Juggle things. Dance. instruct sword fighting. I grew up with the notion of the Internet being there as thing in the background, that you had, all the time. *Not* being on Facebook (or the net) is a weird thought now – how would I reach people? Look at cat pictures?

  40. Mine is on epic lockdown. You can see only the stuff FB requires be public, have to friend me to message me, etc. My photo is my actual face though…sorta…the ex-FWB does photography on the side, my photo is from my Wayward Victorian Girl shoot.

    Of course, my legal name is generic enough there was (is?) a FB group of us.

    Also, babies. The people I grew up with are all having them. And thus my feed is the squee show.

  41. Reblogged this on ok Naija!.

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