Why does Facebook find rape a joke? (“You know she’s playing hard to get when your chasing her down an alleyway”)

Facebook has upset both individuals and companies that use the social networking site because of its refusal to take down a page that attempts to make humour out of rape situations. The group page, called “You know she’s playing hard to get when your chasing her down an alleyway”, has 205,160 likes. Facebook users – individuals, companies and charities – have condemned the decision. Victim support organisations have described it as “disgusting”.

Facebook has refused to delete the page by explaining that they wanted to allow freedom of expression. “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,” a statement said.”Groups or pages that express an opinion on a state, institution, or set of beliefs – even if that opinion is outrageous or offensive to some – do not by themselves violate our policies. These online discussions are a reflection of those happening offline, where conversations happen freely in people’s homes, in cafes and on the telephone.”

The group wall now contain a comment from the authors which thanks the people claiming, saying: “thank you to the people who are ‘trying’ to get this group banned. yous are just promoting this group and getting it more likes :D”. This sort of comment is typical from some Facebook users and, indeed, no matter how unacceptable or inappropriate a subject is, as long as it get more ‘likes’, well that’s funny – 😀 – isn’t it? Here are some typical comments from other web pages and message boards:

“It was the top story on the Radio 1 news this morning. Must admit to LOLing quite loudly. Apparently rape victims are up in arms because Facebook won’t remove it. :D” From Safeway at Brighton & Hove Albion’s North Stand message board.

“Description: Grammar Nazis are not wanted!” On the same group wall, presumably because the founders of the group are semi-illiterate, which they seem to be as they wrote this: “Sorry about the statuses but this admin has to write my comeback to this http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/15130624 i d not support rape this group doesnt bbc are obviously made up or a bunch of bored house wifes who like to target this to fill there time such as this ” Robin Knowles” who wrote an article abut this group  thanks for supporting us uve made us get even more likes s i thank u for that but this group has not dne anything wrong according to the terms and cnditions f facebook groups s if it does get taken down it will result in court because it has done nothing wrong Robin Knowles from 200,000 people who can take a joke please lighten up and have a nice day 🙂 (dk don boss)” No, chasing women down dark alleyways is never wrong, is it?

Recently Facebook has banned pictures from mothers breastfeeding children, which does rather put an awkward slant on their capacity for moral judgement. Facebook is the dominant social networking facility on the web and their recent decisions paint a disturbing picture if this is how they view women, where breastfeeding is considered obscene and jokes about violent rape are acceptable

Companies who place advertisements on Facebook – including American Express, Sony and BlackBerry – have insisted that their adverts should not appear on the page.

The terms and conditions Facebook said: “You will not post content that is hateful, threatening, or pornographic; incites violence; or contains nudity or graphic or gratuitous violence.” But victim support organisations claim that the material on this group breaches those rules.. They have started a petition calling for the page to be removed.

Facebook are beginning to look like a product that are out of touch with their client base. They have been beset with problems recently regarding being to lax with the privacy of their users. One example involved Facebook cookies collecting data about Facebook users browsing, even when they were not logged into the site.


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