Following the recent avalanche of sexual harassment and assault allegations against powerful men, many women have taken to Facebook to share stories and frustrations. However, some were shocked to discover that Facebook suspended their accounts for writing things like “men are scum” and “men continue to be the worst.”
Several women shared their Facebook banning stories with The Daily Beast. One user, comedian Kayla Avery, said she was being overwhelmed by sexist trolls, including one who said he wanted to come to her house to beat her up. However, when she wrote that men are the worst, she was suspended by the site before she could even report them. In response, she created FacebookJailed.com to collect women’s stories.
For its part, Facebook explained that it protects all genders on the platform. However, the context of the current political climate makes the company’s actions look pretty terrible.
“Preventing women from expressing themselves like this is an intimidation tactic,” a female social media strategist told The Daily Beast. “This feels like a deliberate and systematic act—and whether it was or it wasn’t, it needs to be addressed publicly by Facebook and Instagram, especially as we’ve seen plenty of examples of true, dangerous hate speech remaining on these platforms even after being reported.”
It’s doubtful that Facebook intended to cause harm with its actions; however, the site’s algorithms are almost certainly at fault. As usual, these controversies could be avoided if Facebook applied just a bit more of a human touch.