Life Tech Facebook is ‘protecting misogynists’

Facebook is ‘protecting misogynists’

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Facebook is being accused of condoning the sexual harassment of women online after the “unjust” and “misogynistic” banning of an Australian woman for outing men who requested nude images from her.

Clementine Ford, a journalist, posted screenshots of the men’s online advances, she says, to “fight back against the vile, aggressive and threatening abuse of troglodytes”.

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The men asked Ms Ford for the nude photos via Facebook’s messenger function after she posted a topless photo of herself in response to a Sunrise post that was critical of revenge porn victims

Writer and activist Clementine Ford is back on Facebook – after a battle. Photo: Facebook

She wrote: “When Channel 7’s Sunrise asks ‘when will women learn’ instead of ‘why do men continue to view women as objects they can defile and violate while the world watches and tut-tuts’, they are victim blaming.”

Her 28,000 Facebook followers were able to view the full names, messages and in some cases pictures of the 22 men whose correspondence she shared.

“The messages [for nudes] pretty much started as soon as the shares [of her topless photo] took it beyond the usual audience,” Ms Ford told Pedestrian

“They have just kept flooding in. It’s repulsive, but also kind of sadly depressing to see how predictable and boring some people are.”

Soon after posting the screenshots, Ms Ford found Facebook had blocked her from accessing her account. The social media monolith ruled the screenshots had “violated community standards“.

“The worst part is it’s my fourth ban. All of them have been for reposting images of unsolicited, vile messages that the senders have then complained about me posting,” she said.

One of the many random requests Ms Ford received for nude photos. Photo: Facebook

“I use my page for work and community activism, and a 30 day ban significantly impacts my ability to do my job.

“If this keeps happening, they’ll permanently unpublished the page … as men and boys continue to be allowed to post on and publish pages dedicated to misogyny.”

The afternoon following her ban, Ms Ford tweeted that a Facebook “insider” had overturned the ban. However minutes after that, she tweeted a message showing her to be blocked again. As of Sunday afternoon, Ms Ford had access to Facebook once more. 

‘Shame on you Facebook’

Many on social media supported Ms Ford in light of her banning, angry that Facebook allows strangers to approach her for nudes, but then ban the writer for exposing them.

A petition to reinstate Ford’s access to Facebook had received almost 8500 signatures at time of writing.

The hashtag ‘#FacebookHatesWomen’ quickly spawned hundreds of responses critical of the social media network’s decision.  

What about women without Ford’s reach?

After access to her account was confirmed, Ms Ford took to Twitter to highlight how this still might be a problem for people who do not have large followings like herself.  

If a woman who is harrassed online is banned for similar conduct, will their plight be heard if they don’t have the same kind of support?

“I do not take lightly the fact that I have more privilege than many others when it comes to these issues. Many who are punished do not have that kind of support,” Ms Ford said in a statement. 

Commenter Gerry Dillon wrote on the petition: “Facebook has a responsibility to maintain standards in a just way, protecting the innocent and vulnerable, and clamping down on abuse, harassment and victimisation.

“In this case Facebook is victimising the victim.”

Another commenter, Lindsay John Nash. said Facebook is “good at championing free speech for the aggressors, but heaven forbid a victim try and fight back”.

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