“Standard”-less Community

Hate Speech: Facebook does not permit hate speech, but distinguishes between serious and humorous speech. While we encourage you to challenge ideas, institutions, events, and practices, we do not permit individuals or groups to attack others based on their race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, disability or medical condition.

Bullying and Harassment: Facebook does not tolerate bullying or harassment. We allow users to speak freely on matters and people of public interest, but take action on all reports of abusive behavior directed at private individuals. Repeatedly targeting other users with unwanted friend requests or messages is a form of harassment.

from Facebook’s Community Standards

A few days ago, I reported a post on Facebook where a guy was using racist language to describe Barack Obama. He called him an ape and a monkey, and he made some very derogatory remarks about Muslims, while insinuating that Obama is Muslim. I also reported another post by another person for harassment. He had created an account with the sole purpose of mocking individuals. I hoped that Facebook would remove the posts, but they didn’t.

Of course, I shouldn’t have been surprised. They have had a similar attitude in the past on a variety of issues, including posts that are even more threatening or contain extremely bigoted remarks.  Why do they have the standards if they refuse to enforce them? Is it to make them less liable in court if something happens and someone decides to sue? Is it just to make them look better and more caring? Really, what is the use of having standards if you’re not going to enforce them? I understand that Facebook is a huge website and they probably receive a lot of reports, but it is hard to believe that so many that should be considered legitimate violations.

If there’s anything as bad as intolerance/hate, it has to be the ambivalent actions of people who claim to be appalled by it. If Facebook wants to make people feel safer and wants to prevent posts that promote hate or violence or any of the other things that they claim to be against, then maybe they need to step up and start enforcing the standards that they have set. Otherwise, they are just as guilty of every act of bigotry that goes on on their site. And that is disgusting.

About Janet Morris

I'm from Huntsville, Alabama. I've got as many college credits as a doctorate candidate, and the GPA of some of them, too. I have a boss by the name of Amy Pond. She's a dachshund. My parents both grew up in Alabama.