Facebook To Re-Assess Policy After Sexism Row

After a barrage of campaigning by women's groups, including over 5000 emails, Facebook has released a statement announcing improvements to the way they deal with inappropriate material.

The post on the Facebook safety page read:

"In recent days, it has become clear that our systems to identify  and remove hate speech have failed to work as effectively as we would  like, particularly around issues of gender-based hate.

"In some cases,  content is not being removed as quickly as we want.  In other cases,  content that should be removed has not been or has been evaluated using  outdated criteria.

"We have been working over the past several months to  improve our systems to respond to reports of violations, but the  guidelines used by these systems have failed to capture all the content  that violates our standards.

"We need to do better – and we will."

An open letter to Facebook was written on May 21st, and was signed by over a hundred different organisations. Through putting pressure on the advertisers who use Facebook, such as car firm Nissan and Nationwide building society, WAM (Women, Action, & The Media) made a significant impact on the site.

They objected to the many misogynistic and violent pages that Facebook allowed to exist on its website, even when such pages and groups should come under the definition of "hate speech" because of the pictures and opinions they hosted. These include images of beaten women, with captions like "1/3 of women are physically abused; 2/3 of men aren't doing their job".

Many more examples can be found here, though this page comes with a trigger warning for violence and rape.

WAM have called Facebook's response a "historic transition in relation to media and women’s rights", and expressed high hopes for the future.