Facebook has announced plans to renew its effort toward monitoring, and where appropriate, removing gender-related hate speech from its users, per a post on the company’s Facebook Safety page Tuesday, reports arstechnica: “In its most recent battle, Facebook appears to be trying to differentiate what is “cruel and insensitive” and what is “distasteful humor” in order to answer complaints from groups including Women, Action, and the Media.
“WAM wrote an open letter to Facebook on May 21 that asserted the company seems to apply its hate speech mandates unevenly when that hate speech is gender-based. The group cites several Facebook fan pages, including “Fly Kicking Sluts in the Uterus” and “Raping your Girlfriend,” which have now been removed but were presumably present at the time of WAM’s writing.WAM claims that pages like these and others that constitute hate speech toward women are allowed to exist while similar hate speech pages based on religion, race, and sexual orientation are quickly moderated. WAM cites hateful images or content that get a media spotlight as the exception:
“You have also acted inconsistently with regards to your policy on banning images, in many cases refusing to remove offensive rape and domestic violence pictures when reported by members of the public, but deleting them as soon as journalists mention them in articles, which sends the strong message that you are more concerned with acting on a case-by-case basis to protect your reputation than effecting systemic change and taking a clear public stance against the dangerous tolerance of rape and domestic violence.
“Facebook explicitly mentions WAM in its response and acknowledges that its rules on hate speech may be unevenly applied when the content is gender-based. “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,” Facebook wrote.”