Although Facebook tends to automatically monitor the pages that are hosted on it, a number of such pages have long existed on the social network which directly incite violence against women. Now, thanks to a concerted campaign by activists, the social network has pulled the plug on many such pages.
The campaign was launched by Women, Action and The Media (WAM), an activist group which works against violence perpetuated towards women. WAM cited its concerns in a letter to Facebook, stating that the social network needs to recognize such pages which encourage violence against women as hate speech and ban them.
Facebook may not have heeded the suggestion, except that WAM was successful in bringing a number of Facebook advertisers on board. These advertisers, which include the likes of Nissan UK, agreed to pull their ads from Facebook until the website launched an official policy against the pages in question.
As a result of the campaign, Facebook has finally started a crackdown against such controversial pages. The company has also officially acknowledged the existence of the problem in a recent blog post written by Facebook’s VP of Global Public Policy, Marne Levine.
In the post, Levine states, “In recent days, it has become clear that our systems to identify and remove hate speech have failed to work as effectively as we would like, particularly around issues of gender-based hate. We have been working over the past several months to improve our systems to respond to reports of violations, but the guidelines used by these systems have failed to capture all the content that violates our standards. We need to do better — and we will.”
Facebook has started pulling such pages which directly encourage or glorify violence against women. Without a doubt, this is a good start and let’s hope that this becomes a regular part of Facebook’s monitoring policy for pages.