WOMEN’S VIEWS ON NEWS MEDIA RELEASE: Monday 26 September 2011
Facebook treats rape page as ‘pub joke’
Over 3,000 people have signed a UK petition asking Facebook to delete a page that contains ‘joke’ posts about rape against women. The page – ‘You know she’s playing hard to get when your chasing her down an alleyway’ (sic) – contains posts such as ‘I have raped many women….no lie’ and ‘I rape a pregnant bitch and tell my friends I had a threesome’.
The petition was launched on Aug 19 2011 by student Orlagh Ni Léid after Facebook issued a statement likening the page to a pub joke, despite thousands of people protesting against it through the Facebook report mechanism:
“It is very important to point out that what one person finds offensive another can find entertaining – just as telling a rude joke won’t get you thrown out of your local pub, it won’t get you thrown off Facebook.” (Facebook statement 17.8.11.)
“I stumbled across this page and was shocked to see not only rape ‘jokes’, but outright advocacy and even apparent confessions.
I started the petition when I found out that Facebook refused to take the page down and the UK mainstream press proved unresponsive to a letter from Rape Crisis England and Wales.
To date, thanks to articles on sites like ‘Women’s Views on News’, the petition has drawn strong support from around the globe and is building on a US petition against similar pages that has attracted over 170,000 signatures.
Facebook is an influential social force and in a world where 1 in 5 women is a victim of rape or attempted rape, these pages are more than a ‘pub joke.’ Surely Facebook should not be perpetuating rape culture?”
Facebook appears selective about how it applies its rules – for instance, a policy against breastfeeding pictures is upheld, indicating that breasts are offensive, but that rape is not. In doing so, Facebook has made it clear that it does not consider groups that condone rape to be in violation of its own hate speech rules (terms and conditions, section 3 safety, point 7).
The petition can be signed here.
Information for Editors:
2. Selected screenshots from Facebook rape page
3. Facebook rape page: ‘You know she’s playing hard to get when your chasing her down an alleyway’
4. UK Petition
5. US petition
6. Facebook bans pictures of breasts (Reported by LA Times newspaper) and Facebook bans Topless Statue of Liberty
7. Facebook statement: Given to the Annie Othen Show, 17.8.11, BBC Radio Coventry and Warwickshire:
‘We want Facebook to be a place where people can openly discuss issues and express their views whilst respecting the rights and feeling of others.
We have now more than 750m people around the world of varying opinions and ideals using Facebook as a place to discuss and share things that are important to them.
We sometimes find people discussing and posting about controversial topics
It is very important to point out that what one person finds offensive another can find entertaining – just as telling a rude joke won’t get you thrown out of your local pub, it won’t get you thrown off Facebook.”
8. Facebook terms and conditions
9. Background on Women’s Views on News
10. Stats on rape
‘Worldwide, an estimated one in five women will be a victim of rape or attempted rape in her lifetime’ (UNFPA state of the world population 2005 report)