Indeed, the motley crew at Facebook proudly boast that they’ve: “built industry leading technical and human systems” and: “developed sophisticated tools” to help their crew evaluate the reports they receive. “As a result, we believe we are able to remove the vast majority of content that violates our standards” (Facebook 2013).
I decided to test these ‘industry leading’ report systems. For the first time in my long and illustrious relationship with the t’internet I hit the ‘report’ button on a load of memes. The results are below. Be forewarned: the results and the content I reported (particularly the content!) fail to meet work-safe standards (or brain-safe standards for that matter), scroll at your own risk...
1. CHILD ABUSE:
Fact: in October 2013 Facebook stated that while continuing a ban on breastfeeding pictures, they would now allow clips of extreme violence, claiming that “users should be allowed to watch and condemn, but not celebrate such acts.” I call a steaming pile of virtual bullshit on that one. What is the above pic, if not attempting to make light of extreme violence?
Fact: Facebook has no set policy on pro-Nazism or holocaust denial. Anything goes.
Fact: Facebook have said about misogyny: "We occasionally see people post distasteful or crude content. While it may be vulgar and offensive, distasteful content on its own does not violate our policies" (The Guardian 2013).
Fact: Facebook lets homophobic content stand (a heterosexual couple stamping on the heads of homosexual couples anyone?) yet removed an image of two fully-clothed men kissing deeming it a violation of their policy on ‘sexually suggestive content’.
Fact: Facebook claim that: “when we review content that is reported to us, we will take a more holistic look at the context surrounding a violent image or video, and will remove content that celebrates violence” (Facebook 2013). Clearly, they’re talking bollocks.
Fact: The above pic clearly suggests that an underage girl is sexually available - Facebook deemed this acceptable. Even more worryingly, they recently failed to ban a UK paedophile despite him using Facebook to groom victims (The Telegraph 2013).
Fact: Facebook is littered with disablist material in spite of the site claiming it “does not permit attacks on others based on disability or medical condition.”
Fact: Facebook deemed the above image acceptable; hardly surprising when in 2012, they endorsed an app which encouraged people of color to upload a photo and ‘whiten’ their skin (O’Neil 2010).
Fact: Facebook have a patronising and dismissive view of pro-rape memes and pages, they state: "It is very important to point out that what one person finds offensive, another can find entertaining. Just as telling a rude joke won't get you thrown out of your local pub, it won't get you thrown off Facebook" (The Telegraph 2011).
10. CRUSHED HEADS/LIMBS:
Fact: Facebook's image censorship guidelines permit "deep flesh wounds" and "crushed heads/limbs" (The Guardian 2012).
Facebook’s rules about what does and doesn’t constitute “inappropriate” material seem holistic, to say the least. Next time you’re having your breakfast whilst idly scrolling, you might end up with a side-order of crushed head with your omelette. Rest assured however, there won’t be a (female) nipple in sight - Facebook wouldn’t want you to be mentally scarred now, would they?