“Man meant it for evil...Goddess meant it for good!”
To know the power of Social Media in today’s society one just has to look at the news this week. For many years Facebook has been asked to remove from their site posts and pages that contain gender-based hate speech or display violence against women and children. They have never responded to these many requests--until this week.
Jaclyn Friedman from WAM (Women Action Media), feminist and writer, Soraya Chemaly and Laura Bates from Everday Sexism led a campaign to fight the evils of social media with the good of social media this week. They used the good ole’ “girls network” that is--Women--lots of women! In just one week, the #fbrape campaign got the $60 billion company waving a white flag and agreeing to all demands of the campaign!
The campaign organizers demanded Facebook do three things:
- Recognize speech that trivializes or glorifies violence against girls and women as hate speech and make a commitment that you will not tolerate this content.
- Train moderators to recognize and remove gender-based hate speech.
- Effectively train moderators to understand how online harassment differently affects women and men, in part due to the real-world pandemic of violence against women.
How did these feminist Goddesses get Facebook to comply?
Let’s take a look...
- By calling on Facebook users to challenge the advertisers who market their products on Facebook and demand they remove their advertising! (Companies such as Disney, McDonald’s, Dove, Nationwide, Nissan, American Express to name a few.)
- Sent screen shots of Facebook pages to the companies with pages containing content that promoted and/or made jokes about rape, child abuse, domestic violence, and murdering women with their paid ads predominantly posted on them!
- Demanded that the companies remove their advertisements!
- Sent e-mails to financial experts in the media and asked them to predict what will happen to Facebook’s share value if the trend continued with more companies pulling their advertisements.
Of course, we wish that Facebook would have made these changes because they were outraged by the content and not just because it hurt their bottom line. And I am especially disappointed in their chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, who just launched a very popular book with a feminist focus.
What did I learned from this?
Sometimes we have to just frame the message in a way that they’ll understand to win the battle and this week women won a very important battle!