Dear Facebook, Your Response was Less than Adequate.

Via Trista Hendren
on Nov 16, 2012
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Why is this acceptable, yet Feminist pages are being censored or shut down?

{This is the third article in a series discussing concerns that Facebook is anti-feminist. Please refer to the original article and Facebook’s response from their Policy Management to elephant’s community and Trista’s concerns. elephant’s honored to play some small role here in bringing together Facebook and its users in what, hopefully, can be a genuinely constructive solution and difficult, passionate, but vital dialogue. ~ ed.}


I have attempted to bring together the various groups mentioned in the original article.

We would welcome further explanation from you.

The Body is Not an Apology:

Facebook’s response to the article was riddled with contradiction and, I must say, some hypocrisy.

In their own words:

“When evaluating speech on Facebook, we analyze the nature of the speech itself, as well as its perceived intent as indicated by any additional context we may have. We believe this additional information is important, since identical words may be hateful in one context, or off-color attempts at humor in another (such as with stand-up comedy).”

…While in the same response they state,

“At the moment, we have absolutely no way of rationally delineating ‘non-sexual images posted by women’ from other potentially pornographic nude images.”

There is a clear demonstration of where Facebook’s priorities lie. They will go to great lengths to protect groups like “rape book,” but cannot tell the difference between pages like The Body Is Not An Apology and I Love Boobs. That sort of pandering is offensive. Facebook clearly indicates where its priorities lie…and those priorities are not in the safety, well being and equal treatment of women on their website.

If Facebook is truly interested in developing policies that engage in a more fair and equitable treatment of women—something we all would support—they will develop a Consumer Advisory Board or enlist the thoughts and ideas of its constituents—you and I and you and you and you—in the process of navigating content for context.  The sheer difficulty involved in even contacting Facebook about arbitrary suspensions and rules seems to speak to its desire to not be held accountable for its treatment of any “user,” including women.

Uprising of Women in the Arab World Page:

What they mean is:

>> mistake number one: removal of Dana’s picture on October 25.

>> mistake number two: removal of her picture on October 28 or 29.

>> the right decision: blocking our account on November 7.

They’ve been saying this over and over again, with no justification or explanation of what we actually did this time that made them take the right decision (they only said that it was unrelated to the pic). What all of us received that morning was the message we wrote in our press release about the status posted on Oct 26th/27th. All four of us received a prompt message saying we’ve violated the community rules of Facebook for posting the following:

“You have posted a content that violates Facebook Community Rules, the post says: Follow us on Twitter @UprisingOFWomen. Support Dana with hashtag #WindToDana”

Well, we cannot see where is the violation in this status? Do you? Does anyone see it?

Plus: they never sent an explanation nor an apology or nothing, only yesterday morning (Nov 14th) they sent the apology I sent you only to Diala Haidar, who is one out of five admins who received warnings and blocks on the page.

I hope that you include our response in your article.

Hildur Lilliendahl:

I would like to point out that according to the no-nipples rule this is A-ok:

The Hottest Girls Online

Men’s nipples are fine and dandy as well. It’s hypocrisy at best, misogyny at worst.

Regarding Fred’s comment about me, I’m very confused. He states that he does not have context and that I have posted abusive photos. I cannot stress this point too strongly: I have not posted abusive photos. I have posted screenshots of other people’s abusive comments and every single time I made the context readily available. A link to the site where the comment was originally posted (publicly, I might add) always comes with the screenshot. He’s welcome to check it all out at my Tumblr.

If Facebook wants to allow their users to use highly offensive language to express their opinions and encourage violence, that’s genuinely fine by me. But in that case, I feel I should be allowed to point out hate speech. That’s all I’ve been doing, and that’s the reason they keep blocking me. I realize I don’t have a right to use someone’s public product, but I do want to encourage this multi-million dollar corporate mass media to show social responsibility, to have courage to take a stand against violence, to stand by the oppressed against the oppressor.

This is my hope.

It seems to me that Fred at Facebook did not fully answer the primary question at hand here. Does Facebook hate all women, or just feminists?


Trista Hendren

PS: There were many women who weighed in on both the article, the subsequent Response from Facebook, as well as on various posts on Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms. Unfortunately there is not a way to include all of that here. However, I would encourage everyone to make their voice heard in the comment section below, and hopefully we can see a constructive solution and dialogue come out of all this difficult, but important conversation.


Ed: Kate B.

Like equal rights for all on Facebook.


About Trista Hendren

Trista Hendren is the author of The Girl God. The second book in this series, Mother Earth, will be published in December. You can read more about her project with Elisabeth Slettnes at


6 Responses to “Dear Facebook, Your Response was Less than Adequate.”

  1. […] Please refer to the original article , the response from Facebook Policy Management, and the response from several of the groups mentioned in the original article. ~ […]

  2. tara1993 says:

    Facebook refuse to remove pages that perpetuate and endorse hatred, whilst censoring and banning people who are doing nothing wrong – this quite clearly shows that there's a misogynist, anti-feminist agenda at work here. Encouraging violence and spewing sexist vitriol is fine – but *reposting* abusive content is a viable reason to block someone from their account. Facebook undoubtedly hate women, that's been made clear; the women who speak out and are unwilling to tolerate the appalling pages they have to see every day are those who pose the biggest threat – so the course of action taken is to silence them.

  3. sue says:

    Report all nipples as pornography. The first complaint will be looked at, but after that you’ll likely be ignored. However if more and more people do this, it will annoy facebook into action.

    All social platforms have a dilemma of balancing popular public opinion with usability, and to this end facebook has done its best to keep (actual) porn out, not only to keep that traffic off its servers but to give the impression of safety and respect for boundaries while it meanders through everything you’ve done to find things to sell.

    Facebook should be dumped for the invasive fool it is. If tumblr or pintarest had decent comment and chat, facebook would not be the behemoth it is. Friendica is perhaps the best of the distributed social networks platforms but as with anything, it’s not happening until you and your friends get there.

  4. Rabid Feminist says:

    Thank you for taking on this mammoth project. Because Facebook did not address the Rabid Feminist in the 'apology', I must assume that they were not apologizing for blocking us for calling a man a mansplainer and a misogynist. Further nipple picture removal of a photo of a woman in a full blouse with an OUTLINE of a nipple has made me furious. I've no idea now what the rules are. They have one set for us and one set for perverts who snap creepshots. Keep up the great work.

  5. Marilyn says:

    I have discovered the most sexist, racist, homophobic, misogynistic sites on facebook. There are rape joke sites, offensive jokes, “its not rape, simply free sex” site and many many more. These sites have the most violent, offensive photos. “Joke” sites that have the most disturbing, violent photos, of suicide, pornography,rape, jokes about 911, the holocaust, children in Africa etc. I have reported many many sites and photos. I always receive the same report back from facebook. They will not remove the site, photo or comment. Why does facebook pretend to have guidelines against hate speech when they will not enforce their own rules. I discovered a photo of a little girl that I know with a offensive caption on the photo. The photo also has her first and last name. She was 4 years old at the time. Who gave anyone permission to use a photo of a child. I have reported the photo to facebook. They will not remove the photo. What will happen to her when her classmates find that photo on facebook? What about creeps that share photos of children on facebook? She is ten years old now and hopefully no one will discover this photo. Not sure what my next step will be but I am not giving up on this little girl.

  6. CDH says:

    and, not to digress, but FB also allows many images of animal cruelty 🙁
    I do not know how to stop these things, other than to "report" them. But, as other commenters have noted, "reporting" apparently does nothing.