Why I just deactivated my Facebook account – #FBrape

I reckon Facebook annoys most of its users from time to time. The surreptitious changes to your privacy settings, the new timeline, the relentless push towards a ‘share everything’ mindset. Until this week, my own bugbear was the insistent promptings to add my favourite films and books every time I log in on a pc. Facebook had even come up with some helpful suggestions (Dirty Dancing and Twilight), making me wonder if they think I am, in fact, a 14-year old girl.

Until now I’ve put up with these irritations because I have friends, family and colleagues on Facebook, and I’m mildly nosy. I like to see what they’re up to. Granted, there is the odd boring picture (I don’t need to see your dinner!) that doesn’t improve the quality of my life, but generally it’s worth it.


Today I deactivated my Facebook account. The #FBrape campaign of the last week made me re-think Facebook – what it stands for, and whether or not I want it in my life.

On the plus side, Facebook has very carefully defined its own parameters of what it deems to be acceptable behaviour. There is a ‘like’ button, but no ‘dislike’ button, because Facebook is meant to be a positive, sociable place. And it ostensibly does “not permit hate speech based on race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, disability or medical condition”.

So far, so good. Where Facebook falls down is its inability (or unwillingness) to actually enforce its own standards. In my Twitter feed this week I’ve come across a plethora of vile images that have been reported to Facebook, including: a female child with two black eyes, a woman tied up, gagged and crying, and various pictures of girls who look unconscious, covered in blood. Facebook’s sanctimonious response has been a refusal to remove most of this content, because it is classified as ‘humour’.

One of the pages was apparently called ‘fly kicking sluts in the uterus’. I wonder if it would have been taken down if it was called ‘fly kicking pakis in the face’? I suspect it would have been – because racist content is rightly removed from Facebook as soon as it reported, which is where the raging inconsistency comes in. Race and gender are covered by the same clause in Facebook’s own standards – so either both racist and misogynistic content is not OK, or both are considered humour and tolerated. You can’t apply one rule for one and not the other.

Then there’s their other piece of inconsistent, anti-female behaviour: routinely removing pictures of women who’ve had mastectomies. You can’t share a picture of a woman who has bravely overcome breast cancer (because that’s offensive) but you can share a picture of gagged, crying rape victim (because that’s funny). To me, this just speaks volumes for the contemptuous view the company has of women.

To date, Facebook has yet to respond to the open letter, signed by 40 organisations, calling for hate speech against women to be recognised and moderated. They must assume that users are so hooked on their daily Facebook fix that they’ll overlook a small matter like gender-inspired hate speech.

I know that as only one person, deactivating my account will be a non-event for Facebook. But I want to make the gesture anyway – because I refuse to be part of a network that routinely trivialises violence against women.



130 thoughts on “Why I just deactivated my Facebook account – #FBrape”

  1. Hello! I could have sworn I’ve visited this blog before but after going through a few of the articles I realized it’s new to me. Anyhow, I’m definitely delighted I discovered it and I’ll be bookmarking it and checking back regularly!


  2. I’ll be re-posting this on my blog. I have also deactivated both my personal Facebook account and my Blog page at Facebook for similar reasons. I for one will not be associated with anyone that attempts to control my freedom of speech. Yea I know and fully understand that the jerks at Facebook have every right to do what ever the hell they want with their garbage business. I am completely fine with that. It’s my choice to walk away or put up with their bullshit. I have no desire to try and tell them how to operate their business no more than I would expect someone to tell me how to run my blog. I don’t care what anyone thinks about my opinions or what I choose to say or do. If you don’t like what I say, fine, go away and find someone that will tell you things you want to hear.
    Me- I choose to walk away from those politically correct jerks and never go back. Just like GOOGLE, they too can go to hell. Congrats on winning the Freshly Pressed Lottery.


    1. What? Really? How can you acknowledge that they have every right to do what they wish with their business and yet still call it an infringement upon your “freedom of speech.” Nothing like a specious argument to start the day. And why is it ok for you to do whatever you want but objectionable, albeit wafflingly so, when FB does their?

      This stopped being about #FBrape a post or two back for many of you. It’s now about how angry we’re supposed to be at Facebook for slights both real and imagined. And throw in the ad hominem commentary and it gets that much worse. Would Facebook ever launch or approve of a campaign within their own walls called #WPsucks? Maybe, but it’s more likely a few isolated and misinterpreted incidents would prompt a user to do it … and WPr needs to get a whole lot bigger for anyone to care. Perhaps before jumping on a bandwagon of Any sort, we start examining our true motivations and stop glomming on to the most henious of Other accusations because they seem to support a vaguely related complaint of ours. Any blog can complain. No shortage of complainers out there. No shortage of like thinkers either. But why work towards making our concerns a shrill whine amongst many? Rise above it and think. The original author of this article did, and even left a little room later for a change of heart. Although I disagree with the conclusions drawn, it was a decent article.


  3. Yeah, let’s mute everything that isn’t the way we want it to be, fuck free speech, fuck criticism!

    Seriously, such idiotic stuff is what harms normal discussion and what caused the situation that we can’t even normally talk about problems foreigners cause without someone just screaming “racist!” and killing off all discussion.

    Seriously, there are borders for what to say, but I’d consider that reaction to it totally ridiculous if it wouldn’t cause even more harm.

    Yes, hate me for what I wrote, I don’t care btw, just in case you hope so.


  4. Unfortunately, deactivating your Facebook will not stop people from being racist. Hate can spread quickly but goodness spread slowly. I thank you for deactivating your Facebook as a sign of protest. I hope that one day that people stop being racist and be peaceful and pure.


  5. I commend you on deactivating FB! I have been 6 months FB free due to the fact that it has gotten unsafe and the guidlines they set forth are not followed. It has gotten to the point where they “expect” to sign into just about every site using FB. I don’t everyone knows yet that every time you sign as such it leaves a cyber trail to your front door (connecting the bridges). Congrats!


  6. The culprit here is intent. The fact (?) that Facebook classifies it as humor seems strange but what if these same pics were used by someone else with the intent of awareness? From a documentary standpoint it’s presence would be indisputable. Breastfeeding mothers are constantly being censored. Political ideologies are under constant attack. Facebook has the right to allow or disallow whatever it wants. It is in a VERY powerful position to drive the conversation, to socially engineer its users if they let it. I don’t buy into the campaigns that come from being mad at a web browser because someone a half world away doesn’t agree with me. I question Facebook’s intent not the ‘humorous’ postings.


  7. First and foremost, I respect your right to have and express an opinion. But I disagree with your conclusions. Fine, I’m a late comer to the discussion, and this article may be more of an overview of an ongoing matter than a concise display of the evidence. I’ve been on FB for over 4 years and have not experienced what you claim. Sure, FB is all the things you initially claimed with regards to privacy, “like” buttons, etc. But they are in no way fostering an atmosphere of danger or trying to shape the public perception of women and their proper place by ignoring blatant humiliation photos, condoning child abuse, or anything else claimed. If you look for trouble, you will find it. And often I find that the “trouble” is a gratuitous interpretation of a photo, a gratuitous interpretation of an administrative action, or a simple matter of time where the problem has yet to be addressed at what the complaintant feels is quickly enough. I would be hard pressed to find much of what you claim on Facebook. And I’m fairly certain that most of what I’d find related to these claims would be linked in from outside, much like we can post our WordPress blogs to our Timelines or to our entire “friends” list should we wish that. Put a banal title on anything and it’ll post, and probably survive longer because FB software isn’t looking for words like Bunnies, Fluffy, Sweetness.


  8. Yeah, no seriously. The inconsistency of facebook’s own “standards” applied to the reality of what people actually say is what’s making you question leaving? Did I read this wrong? Really? I mean, really?

    Get with it. You should have left long, long ago. Your reasons for staying were never justifiable. (Think about that one, for one minute, counting…now.)

    But maybe they were. Really, count that minute.


  9. Yay, Yay! I did not deactivate, but actually deleted my FB page last night. I wanted it to be a “no turning back” experience. To no avail. Fb will not delete until 14 days have passed with no attempts to login. FB is a breeding ground for all kinds of hate: political, gender, ageism, obese-ism, etc. It also encourages people to perpetuate ridiculous provably false stories (not religious stuff. I’m not bashing anyone). It’s beyond me why I put up with it for so long. I’M FREE!


  10. I left because its just not my kind of thing. Yes, I got tired of people taking pictures of their dinner, and posting a new status every 30 minutes. I got tired of people posting things that normally we consider personal and would not put online, but because its Facebook, people don’t seem to have boundaries anymore. I love my private life more than I love Facebook. I wish others would keep their business to themselves. I deleted my whole account and happy. -Fant


  11. Well said. FB could do a lot better on so many things. They need to realise how much power they have to influence people in a negative way, particularly young people. Why should women have to tolerate being portrayed in this way?


  12. I deactivated my FB account early this year for a number of reasons, not least of those being those you point out here. Also, because it undermines the interactions with the people actually sitting beside you in the room, and also because I don’t believe that anything that most of us agree we dislike about FB will ever change until people start voting with their feet. So in quitting, I was joining the quiet revolt that many have undertaken against FB. HOWEVER, just the other day a friend said to me “oh, I see you just read xyz book” – Further investigation revealed that despite having deactivated my account, all sorts of updates from Apps (in this case, Goodreads) that I’d previously connected to FB, were still live and operating; people can still comment on that activity (without my being able to see what they say, obviously), and in addition to that they can easily trace all my past activity with third parties. In effect, I may have left facebook, but Facebook has not let me go. This is so very wrong, I should have known better.


  13. Yesterday I reported a page. In fact it was an event in French, but if you translate : rape FEMEN sluts. Lots of people have reported it before. And it’s still there. But if you share a picture of a mom breastfeeding her child, you get your account suspended. Breast = obscene, rape = ok…


  14. Thank you for the great read. I did just open a FB page for my blog, but I have no friends, nor do I actually log on to it. I don’t like the fact of other sites using the FB log in. No, I don’t want to have everyone knowing what’s up in my life. I’m glad I’m not hooked on it like some of my friends. Not too happy about this whole deal about the rape photos, etc. I guess I’m lucky (?) to not have heard about it.


  15. I’ve often thought about deactivating my Facebook account for the reasons you mentioned, as well as some personal ones. I find we as a society rely too much on Facebook. We use it to legally stalk people, we use it to badmouth people, use horrible language and promote causes we don’t really care about. I keep it open so that my out of town family and friends can keep in touch, but it’s getting harder.


  16. Maybe it’s because I only have 21 friends on Facebook, but I’ve never seen violent, hateful images or text on Facebook. The fact that it does exist somewhere on Facebook, however, is really disturbing. Like a photo of a “rape victim tied up”? That’s really messed up.

    Thank you for writing this, I wouldn’t have known about these issues otherwise.


  17. I feel like facebook will only change when more people go on the assult about this issue. Honestly it doesn’t anger me about facebook, but I am disgusted by they’re actions made.


  18. Facebook is a facist site which I no longer take part. They are recognized as protected speech by the Supreme Court in the United States, by they make their own rules, which they change on a whim, if they simply don’t agree politically or morally.

    Everyone should shut down their Facebook.


  19. I hadn’t noticed how deep the corruption at FB was running. Nice post. Seeing this article makes me sick inside (not the article, just FB). To know our society has bent so low as to allow FB and other social media sites to unevenly permit these abuses. It causes me to pause and reflect on what our future holds. Based on this and other articles and news out there, I see a very slippery slope leading to the rapid destruction and not prolonged preservation of the human race.

    Took my FB account down long ago. Just after I received an email from CNN about the “hidden” clause changes in FB’s EULA. I’m a professional photographer and their newest rape of the people came in a few hidden lines buried deeply, claiming they OWN YOUR uploaded copyrighted images, can sell, use and do whatever with them – WITHOUT telling you or paying you. NOT!

    I’ve found almost all sites are doing these hideaway changes now. So I’ve been writing my own to hide, I mean post! Hey! they’re up there, you should’ve read them! It’s nice to be a photographer with an Administrative & Constitutional Law degree to boot. So, uploader beware. Post only small, watermarked images if you value your rights. Put a (c) copyright on ALL pics you took and uploaded. Make FB and others aware you will not allow your work to be stolen, nor crap to be posted. Especially when it involves women, children and the elderly.


  20. Great post! It definitely has its problems… only if we lived in a perfect world. There will always be loop holes and always some way to exploit this and that. I feel like the moment we fix one thing, it opens up a route for something else. It’s an odd and harsh world we live in


    1. Yes, it is and it’s getting worse. I grew up in a very tiny town, okay, it was a village until 1978, and I was informed nearly every street corner, including the ONE main stop light, now posses live and in living color, HD cameras to watch our every move. Fortunately, I moved away. Far – Far – away. About 5,000 miles away! Can anyone say, 1984, as in Orwell! ????


  21. I deactivated long ago… Thank you for lending voice to this! Many people have gone a couple of years without contacting me because ‘ hey! You’re not on FB! ‘ true story but I live in the same place, have the same phone number and my email is unchanged… Shocking how much power it is given…


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