Facebook’s Continuing War on Women: This Time Human Rights Watch is the Problem

Yesterday, Facebook blocked a page from Human Rights Watch. 

And, yes, you read that right. 

Facebook deemed a page by Human Rights Watch so hateful that it contravened their official policy on “offensive” material. You know, their policy which allows violent pornography, images of abused children and women, racism, homophobia, disablism and rape threats to remain as “free speech”. 

Human Rights Watch‘s crime: requesting the Tunisian government grant feminist activist Amina Tyler pretrial release, as she is entitled to under the law. Amina Tyler, whose only crime was writing Femen across her bare breasts and posting the image on Facebook, has been detained since May 19th. Tyler’s photo did not contravene FB’s standards despite the fact that images of infants breastfeeding does. 

Human Rights Watch are a subversive group because caring that no human be tortured, imprisoned, raped or murdered for being human now contravenes Facebook standards. We have arrived at the point where “free speech” only applies to violent men. Those who campaign for the protection of vulnerable people from male violence have no legal right to free speech.

Welcome to the Patriarchy where Feminist activism is required to ensure that internationally recognised human rights organisations aren’t deemed “offensive”.

Facebook Blocks Another Feminist Campaigner

As was inevitable, Facebook has just blocked another feminist campaigner for posting “abusive images”; that would be the poster linked above. The administrator of the Australian Destroy the Joint FB page was blocked yesterday for sharing the poster.

Now, I’m not very surprised by this. We all know Facebook is deeply misogynistic. The campaign by Laura Bates of the Everyday Sexism Project, Women Media Action and Soraya Chemaly to make Facebook take responsibility for the misogyny and violence against women perpetuated on their site was a victory. Making Facebook acknowledge their violence against women was only the first step.  It was an incredible first step which accomplished something I never thought would be possible.

However, acknowledging getting Facebook to acknowledge their misogyny and violence against women isn’t enough. We need to keep supporting the amazing women who fronted the campaign by continuing to report offensive pages.

It is far too easy to assume that victory will change things immediately but that’s the lazy way out. 

We need to ensure that Facebook follows through with their promise to end misogyny.

We need to keep holding them accountable. 

Far too often, we believe the promises made and do not enforce accountability.

We need to hold Facebook accountable today and forever.