30 May 2013

Facebook to tighten response to content promoting violence

6:04 am on 30 May 2013

Facebook has announced a crackdown on pages promoting violence against women after a fierce campaign led to dozens of companies withdrawing their advertising campaigns from the social media site.

Just over a week ago the Women, Action and the Media group, the British-based Everyday Sexism Project and a writer for the Huffington Post launched a movement against Facebook.

The campaign attracted more than 60,000 tweets and hundreds of thousands of signatures to an online petition.

It was launched in reaction to Facebook pages such as "This is why Indian girls get raped", "Violently Raping Your Friend Just for Laughs", the ABC reports.

"In recent days, it's 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 said in a statement.

"In some cases, content is not being removed as quickly as we want. We need to do better and we will."

For two years, Facebook has defended its users' right to publish photos and jokes that highlight rape and domestic violence.

Jaclyn Friedman from Women, Action and the Media says she is at a loss to explain why Facebook has previously acted on some topics of hate speech and not others.

"This isn't about grey areas, this is about content that very explicitly promotes violence against women.

"Facebook is perfectly capable, and does all the time, crack down on all other kinds of hate speech, like anti-Semitic hate speech and anti-Islamic hate speech, homophobic hate speech."

Thrilled with the turnaround, Ms Friedman confirmed that her organisation would be working alongside the social networking site as it revaluates it guidelines and practices.