The result? A policy statement that was vague on most of its wording, with its only specificity being in language denoting that the rules wouldn't apply equally between the sexes.
Disturbing as it is that WAM decided to take control of speech on facebook, even more disturbing was that unequal approach. Their letter and the statement inspired by it spelled out a policy which would censor speech then spelled out why speech advocating violence against men was exempt.
Violence against men don't real.
It wasn't long before facebook's administrators showed exactly how this broadly worded policy was going to affect speech, removing one AVFM image because its text criticized a feminist claim, and showed evidence against that claim, and another simply because it contained criticism of feminism.
In my last post, I talked about the attitude it would take to report as offensive an image of a poster advertising a rally for men and boys in crisis. The choice to take offense at the idea of helping men and boys overcome disadvantages they face is, itself, a manifestation of hatred. Fortunately, this time facebook's administrators didn't cave in to the hateful individual(s) who reported the image. Unfortunately, previous actions by facebook administrators have demonstrated that it wasn't because the image was good. It was because the image didn't openly and directly criticize feminism.
They have decreed that it's not just hateful to post images glorifying violence against women and girls. It's also apparently hateful to post images which criticize feminist political ideology and the behaviors that are based on feminist ideology. It is not, apparently, hateful to post images glorifying and outright advocating violence against men.
Reading the standards outlined on the page, I cannot see anything which indicates that the removed AVFM images should be reasonably considered more in violation than should be photos of battered men on a page advocating castration and other physical abuse.
This is not just a simple double standard. In adopting and executing feminist-led policy, facebook has become a vehicle of both censorship, and hatred. The policy isn't "you can't advocate violence against and hatred." It's "You can't say anything feminists don't like, but we'll ignore actual celebrations of violence when men are the target."
With this discrepancy in their handling of speech, facebook's administrators have given a clear demonstration that their new policy is based not on morals but money. With that in mind, I've hatched an idea, and composed a couple of letters. WAM posted a list of organizations which pulled their advertising from facebook to pressure the site to cave to the organization's demands. I think those advertisers should hear from us, as well.
Love It Love It Love It
Specialty Natural Medicine
Down Easy Brewing
Matt Miner Comics
House of Burlesque
Grow Your Own Theatre
Dove (To contact Dove, you have to contact Unilever.)
David Lloyd Leisure
Letter to facebook advertisers:
You recently participated along with multiple organizations in a successful effort to bring censorship to Facebook. Following the success of that effort, the site updated its policy to bar users from posting images advocating gender based violence, and other communications determined by facebook staff to be "hate speech." Since the policy was adopted last spring, it has been used to remove images based not on the stated criteria, but on whether or not they fit in with specific political ideology.
Images which don't depict or advocate violence, but which criticize specific political beliefs, statements, or actions, have been removed as "offensive." Images advocating violence against men and posts containing hate speech targeting men are not removed when reported using facebook's complaint system. These include graphic depiction of injuries, and pages and posts advocating castration.
This means that while your ads will no longer be displayed on pages or next to images which feminists find objectionable, you will still be funding pages that advocate violence against men, contain statements of hatred and bigotry against men, and contain images depicting injuries to men described on the page as the result of said violence.
In working with Women Action Media's campaign to censor facebook, your organization has openly supported adopting a policy deeming the type of speech shown to you in the protests you received unacceptable, including depictions like the ones facebook is refusing to remove simply because men are the subject instead of women.
Do you support gender-based discrimination? Are you in favor of silencing political speech? That is what facebook's uneven execution of their new policy is. The site has determined that women are to be protected from potentially offensive speech, but men may be openly and aggressively targeted by it. The site has determined that one political ideology is to be protected from dissenting speech, while other ideological beliefs may be challenged or even openly slandered. Since you supported WAM's advocacy, your name is now associated with facebook's discriminatory attitude and censorship of political speech.
I urge you to reject that discriminatory association. Don't let your organization be used to impose a system of selective censorship. Tell facebook that association with your organization depends on equal application of their policy, and their support of free political speech. Their standards should apply equally and identically to both sexes, and should not include censorship based on political ideology.
Facebook should hear from us, too. I thought providing a link to their feedback page would assist in that, but you can't get to it unless you access it from your account so that facebook knows exactly who is contacting them. Instead, in the upper-right corner of your facebook page, click once on the little gear symbol, then once on "report a problem." When the "report a problem" pop-up shows, click "send feedback."
You'll see in the address bar the same link I've included on every mention of the site in this post (https://www.facebook.com/help/contact/), followed by a 15 digit number. The page will request a category for your feedback. You do not have to select a category.
Letter to facebook:
Earlier this year, you responded to an organization called Women Action Media by making changes to your policy on speech. According to your public statements, your new policy bars users from posting images advocating gender based violence, and other communications determined by facebook staff to be "hate speech." However, you have not executed your new policy without undue discrimination. Since the policy was adopted last spring, it has been used to remove images based not on the stated criteria, but on whether or not they fit in with specific political ideology.
Your stated policy calls for removal of hate speech and images advocating violence. It does not state anything about removal of speech or imagery which either states or dissents against a political viewpoint, but you have removed political statements that do not contain hatred or advocate violence, labeling them "hate speech." Images advocating violence against men and posts containing hate speech targeting men are not removed when reported using facebook's complaint system. These include graphic depiction of injuries, and pages and posts advocating castration.
This is a clear demonstration of political bias, and a gender based discriminatory attitude among facebook's administrators.
Do you support gender-based discrimination? Are you in favor of silencing political speech? That is what the uneven execution of your new policy indicates. You have determined that women are to be protected from potentially offensive speech, but men may be openly and aggressively targeted by it. You have determined that one political ideology is to be protected from dissenting speech, while other ideological beliefs may be challenged or even openly slandered.
This policy creates a hostile, discriminatory environment for male users, their friends, and their families. You may not be aware of this, but as many of your male users have faced intimate partner and sexual violence as your female users have, only your male users have fewer options for support and recovery.
This means that your policy of tolerating images depicting violence against men is even worse than your previous policy of tolerating images depicting violence against women. You took steps to end the latter. You have no reasonable excuse for continuing to tolerate the former.
It also means that when you censor political speech which relates to the struggles faced by disadvantaged and abused men, including speech which debunks politically popular beliefs, you're contributing to the discriminatory social environment faced by men, particularly those who have been victimized.
Reasonable execution of your stated policy would not allow for this. Don't let your organization be used by a group with a political agenda to impose a system of selective censorship. Please instead commit to equal application of your policy, and your support of free political speech. Your standards should apply equally and identically to both sexes, and should not include censorship based on political ideology.