We Did It! Facebook Commits to Change Policies re Gender-Based Hate Content

We can change rape culture. One piece at a time, until we reach a tipping point.

The action organized by Jaclyn Friedman and WAM, plus the Everyday Sexism Project, and Soraya Chemaly a week ago has worked. From WAM:

"Today, we are pleased to announce that Facebook has responded with a important commitment to refine its approach to hate speech. Facebook has admirably done more than most other companies to address this topic in regards to content policy. In a statement released today, Facebook addressed our concerns and committed to evaluating and updating its policies, guidelines and practices relating to hate speech, improving training for its content moderators and increasing accountability for creators of misogynist content.

Facebook has also invited Women, Action & the Media, The Everyday Sexism Project and members of our coalition to contribute to these efforts and be part of an ongoing conversation. As part of these efforts, we will work closely with Facebook on the issue of how Community Standards around hate speech are evaluated and to ensure best practices represent the interests of our coalition."

Read the full WAM article about the action and its effects here: WAM!

 And here’s what the New York Times had to say: Facebook Says It Failed to Stop Misogynous Pages - NYTimes.com

Many of our CounterQuo organizations signed the original Open Letter to Facebook last week. Many of us tweeted, emailed, and shared with our networks. The collaboration had an impact.

Several advertisers, including Nissan, said they would stop advertising on Facebook until it changed their policies. We know that advertisers can put pressure on sites like Facebook to do the right thing. And we as consumers can pressure advertisers to do the right thing. We have some power.

Sadly, others like American Express, Zappos and Dove, would not sever their relationship with Facebook in the face of the site’s allowing deeply anti-women content. That’s disheartening, and especially ironic in the case of Dove. That company prides itself on celebrating real women and “real beauty.” And yet, it seems not to care about how real women are actually treated and portrayed.

The success of this action reminds us that we can change rape culture. We don’t have to accept the status quo. This is an important reminder, because it can be very easy to become worn down, and to believe that nothing we do can really have an impact. Until something we do has an impact.

 And today, it feels really nice to have some good news, to see some bit of progress.