Facebook came under fire yet again this week for what some are claiming is a pattern of failure to take seriously attacks on the LGBT community.
Following the launch – and removal – of homophobic Facebook group, The New Anti-Gay Movement, members of the trans community were enraged to learn of a page entitled ‘im a women LOL JK i’m the guard from poundland’ [sic], which appeared to have been created for the sole purpose of belittling and intimidating a security guard, working at discount shop Poundland, who also happens to be transgender.
Typical of the comments put up were: “anyone got a photo of the ugly tranny? Put it on here and have a giggle.”
Another poster wrote: “a heard [sic] it wasn’t even human but a reptile”.
Various posters urged others to take photos, which were duly added.
The page survived for a number of weeks, apparently unreported. This changed on Wednesday, when a piece by journalist and blogger, Paris Lees, exposed the page to the transgender community and led to a flurry of reports both to Facebook and the local police. Investigation of those who posted is believed now to be underway.
However, despite the fact that this page was clearly intimidatory and some of its comments appeared to incite violence, Facebook seem to have taken no action to remove this until it was brought to their attention yesterday.
This case mirrors that of a Facebook page that went up late last year, which incited and organised attacks on a pro-gay march in Serbia. Despite many attempts to have it removed as abusive, it was again not until after the matter was drawn to the attention of Facebook’s press office – and some weeks after the first complaints were submitted – that any action was taken.
Responding to the above, Facebook refused to be drawn on individual cases – although the strenuously deny any anti LGBT-agenda or soft-pedalling when it comes to LGBT hate posted on their site.
A spokeswoman explained: “While we can’t comment on individual cases, users and content on Facebook can be removed for a variety of reasons including bullying or harassing others, using fake details or posting content which contains nudity.”
The above includes every item of content added to the site, from profile images, to photos or messages, all of which can be reported by people using the site.
All reports are prioritised before being dealt with by Facebook’s user operations team, and then addressed in order of significance: so a report of grooming or harassment would be dealt with before a report of an account which has been locked out.
The spokeswoman concluded: “Content which breaks Facebook’s rules, such as the pages you flagged, will be removed for breaching Facebook’s terms as set out in our statement of Rights and Responsibilities.
“We encourage people to report anything they feel violates our policies using the report links which are on every page across the site. Our highly trained team of expert reviewers will then prioritise reports, remove any content or people in violation and escalate issues to law enforcement when appropriate.”