In a social media world, yes, even Facebook promotes rape culture
Rape culture is the pervasive culture that accepts and allows misogyny as normal. This ranges from doctors who don’t trust women when they tell them they’re in pain to men who shout obscenities at women from the safety of their speeding car. It comes as no surprise, then, that the anonymity of online comments are chock full of rape culture, victim blaming, and blatant misogyny…just check the comment section of any YouTube video. What is surprising, though, is that social media giants like Facebook also succumb to the societal standard of rape culture.
Facebook and Twitter have both gotten in trouble for silencing women as of late. Rose McGowan’s Twitter was automatically suspended for posting an email with a phone number in it while posting receipts of her harassment by Hollywood execs. At least, that was Twitter’s excuse. Facebook’s policy is similar. If a post violates their terms they maintain the right to shut. shit. down. And that’s fair, to an extent. One could argue it fucks with the first amendment to freedom of speech, but again, Facebook makes you sign away some of those rights when you first sign up.
But does Facebook treat each post, each person that violates their terms equally? The answer to that, as you might have guessed, is no.
Here’s a very specific example for you: Hailey Singleton of Mesa, Arizona was harassed by an acquaintance by phone and over Facebook messaging. “Honestly he just creeped me out and I told him his isn’t going to work out. And I deleted him thinking nothing of it because it was over before it started. Why would I stay friends with someone I don’t know and who I can tell I don’t like? That’s when he got fucking weird and turned because he got offended that I deleted him,” Hailey said.
Hailey spoke out against this man by using the largest platform she has, Facebook, to warn her fellow women to stay away. She used his name and did not block out his face in the receipts she posted of his behavior.
Not only did he threaten her with a defamation lawsuit (lol) but he reported the post to Facebook. Facebook decided this warning to women was worth a 24-hour ban. If this was an online blog, a newspaper, or any similar outlet, they would be slapped with an ACLU lawsuit faster than you can say FUCK THE PATRIARCHY. As a journalist I can tell you with absolute certainty, the first amendment protects you from libel lawsuits if your claim, if your character assignation, is justified. If you have proof. It’s like any essay, if you back your claim up with evidence that is true and you aren’t just writing baseless claims out of anger, you’re good! Taylor Swift’s lawyers sent the writer of an online article that claimed she was a source of inspiration for White supremacists and the alt-right a cease and desist letter. The writer backed up her claims with an in depth analysis of the symbolism and language in Swift’s music video for “Look What You Made Me Do.” Super interesting article if you want to read it: here (LINK). The ACLU sent Swift back a letter, basically telling her to FUCK OFF, FIRST AMENDMENT AND SHIT.
But Facebook don’t care, especially if you’re a woman.
I tested my theory out on another post; where this time it was a man calling out another man.
This time Facebook also deleted the post…but…alas…no ban for the boys.
In a #MeToo world this is discrepancy sexist and shameful. Women have faced silencing fingers from too many to also face it online, to have what many consider as their largest outlet to other women and the world, shut down.
Facebook did not respond to a request for comment. But a spokesperson told The Daily Dot that the company is “not perfect by any means.”
But here’s the kicker: Hailey says after the Facebook ordeal, Burton reached out to her place of work and complained about Hailey “slandering” him online. He was so empowered by Facebook “siding” with him that he crossed the line from online to real life and contacted her boss. Burton is so obviously a danger…if he’ll go as far as contacting Hailey’s workplace to retaliate against a comment he didn’t agree with, a digital rejection that made him feel shitty, what’s to stop him from stopping by her home and threatening her physically?
Look, I get Facebook isn’t exactly the standard to which we should all live our lives…but as a millennial…Facebook is a huge portion of our everyday lives…hell, fake news on Facebook helped win (or lose) the presidential election!
Facebook, you gotta be better than this.