Signal Boost: hate pages on Facebook

11 Sep

Trigger warning for just about every -ism you can conceive. This post is about the prevalence of hate groups on Facebook. Also an added trigger warning for discussions of rape and abuse in the comments.

Addendum 25/09/2011: Scar has quite rightly pointed out in the comments that this list doesn’t contain any hate pages against trans* folk. This was an oversight on my part—at the time I posted the link to this page, I simply didn’t have the spoons to read through the whole list, and I take full responsibility for this. My heartfelt apologies to anyone who felt erased by this—obviously as it is not my list I can’t do a lot about it, however I will definitely keep it in mind when I am linking pages in the future.

Good Gravey has posted The big, bad list of hate-pages yet to be reported (plus the success stories) on his Tumblr. Those of you who follow/like/whatever-the-kids-are-calling-it-nowadays the SlutWalk Aotearoa Facebook page will know that I and the other moderators of the page will often post the links to Facebook pages that perpetuate rape culture; however the sad truth is that the list Good Gravey has provided here is, simply put, too long to deal with individually.

Facebook have outrighted stated that in their opinion, pages that threaten rape are no worse than a bawdy pub joke. According to Facebook’s statistics page, there are over 750 million users currently on Facebook. If we assume a gender balance, and we also assume the often-touted statistics that one in four women and one in eight men will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime, there are over 140 million survivors of sexual assault actively using Facebook.* To ignore them in favour of stating that “It is very important to point out that what one person finds offensive another can find entertaining” is a horrific marginilisation of a huge part of your users.

And this doesn’t just stand for rape culture, either. The only way to even stand a chance of being taken seriously is to report each one of these disgusting pages that promotes racism, sexism, rape culture, cissexism, classism, ableism and any other -ism you can conceive.

Again, the full list is here and I would encourage those of you with the spoons to report, report, report as much as possible. There is currently a success rate (i.e. the pages now show as uanvailable/removed) of ~9%. This is could, but we can try to make it better.

*If anyone wants to check my math (it is rather late): 750,000,000 users = 375,000,000 women and 375,000,000 men.
375,000,000 x ¼ = 93,750,000
375,000,000 x ⅛ = 46,875,000
93,750,000 + 46,875,000 = 140,625,000


Posted by on September 11, 2011 in Uncategorized


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13 responses to “Signal Boost: hate pages on Facebook

  1. Good Gravey

    September 11, 2011 at 22:03

    Thanks MJ.

    The Watchers (a closed group) has also found that reporting pages on the basis of sexual content gets greater attention from FB – whether it is or not.

    Credible threat of violence, hate speech, none of this seems to matter as much as nudity.

    Sadly, I am not surprised.

  2. betasoup

    September 11, 2011 at 22:35

    While I support the sentiment, how important is a Facebook page, really.

    I don’t ‘like’ any of these kind of pages, but just because someone does, doesn’t mean they’re a rapist, would ever support rape, would even think about comitting rape. From my experience, people who join these groups ‘like’ 100s of pages at a time. The thought process going in is absent. They see them as ‘funny one-liners’ — they have a poor sense of humour — and never interact with them again. It’s nit like they sit in little online circles and discuss the rapes they gave committed.

    On another note, done of the groups on that list are a tad ridiculous to tout as examples of ‘hate groups. “I HATE CATS”… Really?

    To be sure, many DO deserve to be reported, but I don’t think this is a huge dea — report a few you cone across and forget about theml. They’re Facebook groups. Don’t read too much into them.

    • MJ

      September 11, 2011 at 22:50

      In regards to your second paragraph, I suggest that you read the post Who hears you, when you speak about rape? I suggest that you absorb it, and try to remember that “how important is a Facebook page” is an exceptionally dismissive statement to anyone who may be triggered by the, sometimes very graphic, titles of said pages. I recommend that you pay particular attention to this bit:
      That guy, the one that you like, has actually raped an unconscious woman and now thinks you’re all a-okay with that, because it’s just what blokes do, and you laughed.

      In my case, my ex-boyfriend (who I remain “Facebook friends” with only so I have enough warning if he is ever returning to my city to GET THE HELL OUT, before you tell me to just defriend him) ‘likes’ some of the sorts of pages in Good Gravey’s list with alarming regularity. This is the person who raped me while we were together, who was verbally and physically abusive – and who ‘likes’ Facebook pages that promote both of these activities in the context of a joke. And the thing is, the way ‘liking’ works on Facebook is that he has probably seen these pages on his news feed. Which means one or more of his friends has liked the same thing. Now, his friends may not be rapists, or abusers, but they have found a Facebook page perpetuating the idea of rape or domestic violence to be an amusing joke and because of this, my ex will only continue to think that his behaviour is okay. This shit is important, words and actions matter, and dismissing it as “just a Facebook page” is not only dismissive, but downright dangerous.

  3. betasoup

    September 11, 2011 at 23:01

    I see your point, and respectfully apologise.

    • MJ

      September 12, 2011 at 18:01

      Thank you – both for the apology and for the genuine attempt to see things from my point of view – it’s something that’s much rarer than it should be, unfortunately.

  4. Good Gravey

    September 12, 2011 at 13:41

    Thank you betasoup for that last. It is a pity more people couldn’t learn from you how to apologise.

    MJ – I want to take the opportunity to say just how incredibly much (poor English sorry) I admire you. From the moment you spoke at Slutwalk Wellington, you just galvinised my attention.

    Your strength and determination are an inspiration to us all. Wifey keeps telling me I am a creepy old man (45) being friendly with people young enough to be my kids, but what the hey.

    I still feel that, if Facebook won’t pay any attention to this, maybe the companies that pay for FB ads that appear on these sites will. It is quite sickening reading through these pages, but to me, it is necessary. Being a white, middle-class, heterosexual, cis-gendered male, I guess my privilege has to count for something. And if I can use it to face that sort of crap, then great.

    And yes – anyone who I know that “likes” these pages (other than to take them on head-on) is instantly de-friended.

    The people who are doing the bulk of the work on this have reported that there is another Facebook page set up to fight those who fight them. They go to the extent of publishing the names and personal details of anyone they find reporting their precious pages. They border on inciting people to violence against those who would speak out.

    Thank you again MJ – a lot of what I do these days has actually been inspired by you (among a few others).

    • MJ

      September 12, 2011 at 18:20

      Oh… I have no idea how to respond to this!! Thank you, though, this comment means so much to me ❤

      Being a white, middle-class, heterosexual, cis-gendered male, I guess my privilege has to count for something. And if I can use it to face that sort of crap, then great.

      I’m going to show this to my flatmate, who always feels useless in the face of kyriachy, and specifically rape culture. Fantastic.

      The people who are doing the bulk of the work on this have reported that there is another Facebook page set up to fight those who fight them. They go to the extent of publishing the names and personal details of anyone they find reporting their precious pages. They border on inciting people to violence against those who would speak out.

      Ugh, this is so gross, and so horrifying… and a stark reminder of why so many bloggers still feel the need to use pseudonyms when tackling this stuff. And I know it’s something that I struggled with when I started organising SlutWalk, because there was so much stuff that I was in a unique position to talk about during the organisation. But my name is really freaking uncommon and so my blogging can be traced back to me, and my family, really easily. People posting my personal information on groups like that scares the shit out of me. But you know what? So does the thought of my sisters and brothers growing up in this bullshit kyriachy that I have, and that means that sometimes you just bite the bullet and hope no one is taking that kind of crap seriously.

  5. Scar

    September 25, 2011 at 14:44

    It’s a shame you erased trans people with your list, Good Gravey. I guess they don’t really matter, eh?

    • MJ

      September 25, 2011 at 20:21

      Thank you so much for pointing this out to me, Scar. I’ve updated the post to reflect this—at the time I posted the link to this page, I simply didn’t have the spoons to read through the whole list, and I take full responsibility for this. My heartfelt apologies to you and anyone else who felt erased by this one; I’ll definitely be more careful in the future.

      • Scar

        September 25, 2011 at 20:57

        Hey, no problem – I don’t think it’s your fault for not reading the entire thing, I think it’s the fault of the people who compiled it for not even bothering to think about trans people.
        I suppose one could argue that it’s hard to include EVERYONE in the list, but I feel pretty peeved that hate pages against the USA (an inherently privileged nation) were given air time but hate pages against trans people (one of the most marginalised groups in the world) were forgotten.

  6. Good Gravey

    October 14, 2011 at 14:46

    I do sincerely apologise, Scar. It was copied from a post on the FB page, and when I realised the omission, I did take it up with them, and they have subsequently addressed that.

    They had been targeting transphobic pages as well. They omitted them from the list. They advised me it wasn’t a case of deliberate invisibility, but that there were so many quite a number were dropped off.

    I haven’t been back to the page for a while, but I checked shortly after I took them to task over it (after it was kindly pointed out to me) and they added the pages they’d found.

    The group does have a number of trans* members, and they too raised the issue.

    Again, I do sincerely apologise.

  7. G W

    August 22, 2012 at 08:25

    I do apologise for commenting on an old post, but I’ve just seen this via a link from a friend and feel it’s important to fully address the aspect of transphobia discussed in the comments above. Trans* people and people fighting transphobia commonly and legitimately feel marginalised and less-important in social justice and anti-hate groups generally, and I want to communicate the message that transphobia being erased, marginalised or not-important is emphatically not the case in the group mentioned above, the Watchers.

    I’m a member of this group, and Good Gravey’s description above didn’t match my own memory of events, so I checked with records on the wall’s timeline. Basically, there’s simply some very unfortunate timing, which I hope I may have the liberty to explain, as I’m very aware that all too often people claim that certain groups, often trans* people and anti-transphobia folk, are welcome, while not actually doing a single thing to Make them welcome, so I’d like to demonstrate that that isn’t the case here.

    First, according to the Facebook wall, the group was created on 26th August, which obviously was only 16 days before the date of this blog post. I wasn’t involved in the creation of the group, but as far as I know, the creators didn’t start it with a fixed picture of where it would end up, but instead the group evolved according to the knowledge, wishes and contributions of the members collectively. After it started, someone thought it would be a good idea to start lists of different hateful pages, so that’s what was done. The version of the list linked here is obviously a very early version. There was no pre-planned overall strategy for the group or its functioning which included other varieties of prejudice but excluded transphobia. In the overall group description and “about”, transphobia was listed as one of the many examples of prejudice.

    As was very rightly pointed out above, there being no mention of transphobia or transphobic pages in a varied list, even an early version, is unacceptable. I noticed that myself, and I quote myself from wall records on 11th September: “Ooh, I knew something was missing more recently. I think I remember it from the group description, but can we put something in one of the documents perhaps that clearly signals to trans* folk that we’ll stand with them, too, and that transphobia is just as unacceptable as all the rest? As no-one, as yet, has found any of that. Certainly I’m in the fortunate position of not knowing what words would be likely to find transphobic stuff; I would gladly follow someone’s reports and learn from them.” I then felt that it’s hardly good form to point out a problem and expect somebody else to fix it, so even if I wasn’t going to make a very good job of it, I went searching for transphobic pages and posted 9 of them, under the comment, still 11th September: “Transphobia. And, regarding transphobic stuff, if anyone goes looking, Please check carefully what you’re about to report: don’t just report on the basis of a word used in a page/group title, because some trans* folk reclaim words that are usually unacceptable and use them about themselves, and there’s absolutely no way we want to take those pages down.”

    I also contacted an admin privately to emphasise the importance of adding the transphobic pages I’d found and a category for transphobia to the lists, otherwise the group would be sending a clear message that transphobia wasn’t important and that people who care about it wouldn’t be welcome, or may at best be ignored or unsupported. The admin agreed with me, and still 11th September, there is a comment from that admin “reported and on the list” under my posting of the transphobic pages. 13th September, there is a comment from the same admin under my original post highlighting the issue of transphobia: “It is now in the group’s description and has it’s own section in the list, hope this highlights it a bit.”

    I hope that the above very long-winded description demonstrates that the group as a collective – via myself, as simply a member – and the group’s admin addressed the omission of transphobic pages before the comments above were made. Good Gravey wrote about the comments made here on the wall on 25th September – clearly after myself and the relevant admin had addressed the omission. Any version of the list updated from 13th September and onwards included transphobic pages under the category of transphobia.

    As a postscript to all of that, I’d like to assure any person who cares about transphobia that I and other members continue to post transphobic pages when we find them, and receive the same amount of support from other members as we and others do for other types of pages. One particularly unpleasant transphobic page was the focus of some specific action beyond reporting to Facebook by at least 4 members, including myself, Good Gravey and the other main admin to the one referenced above. We cross-post from Wipeout Transphobia on Facebook – credited – when relevant, and the first admin referenced here advertised the group there. People more knowledgeable and active in anti-transphobia would always be welcome, and would also not be carrying that banner alone.

    On the overall topic of the post: currently, there’s a total of 1082 pages listed, 404 of which – 37% – are no longer available. That’s far, far too many hate pages, but a heartening number of people who believe that’s not ok and act on it.


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