By Rachel Berger
One of the more unsettling truths about the Internet generation is that our eyes tend to glaze over when we see the words “Terms and Conditions” when registering for an online service. In case you skipped the fine print, allow me to draw attention to what Facebook lists under “Safety” in its Statement of Rights and Responsibilities for users (my emphasis):
“You will not post content that: is hateful, threatening, or pornographic; incites violence; or contains nudity or graphic or gratuitous violence.” It further states, “You will not use Facebook to do anything unlawful, misleading, malicious, or discriminatory.”
Sounds reasonable enough, no? Unfortunately, the enforcement of these terms is reliant on how Facebook’s directors interpret them. And we’re definitely not on the same page there.
A recent internet petition criticizes the Facebook page titled “You know shes playing hard to get when your chasing her down an alleyway,” which has accumulated over 210,000 Likes. The petition, which is available on GoPetition and Change.org, cites Facebook for failing to remove content that makes light of sexual violence.
While Facebook issued a statement likening such pages to “rude pub jokes,” petitioners argue that the implications of the page are obviously threatening and contribute to a culture where rape is socially permissable–and joked about.
Regardless of whether it leaves physical marks, rape clearly falls under the category of “violence.” Dismissing rape jokes as harmless takes them out of their context in a society where approximately 2.3 million men and women are victims of rape or sexual assault each year.