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Facebook's Complaint Process Is Arbitrary — But So Is Campaigning

timothy posted about 10 months ago | from the please-don't-call-it-a-witch-hunt dept.

Facebook 114

Bennett Haselton writes "After initial abuse reports failed to shut down some anti-women and pro-rape pages on Facebook, a wider lobbying campaign succeeded in prompting a Facebook policy change. This has been alternately hailed as a vindication of the campaigner's cause, or derided as proof that Facebook can be cowed by humorless feminists. In reality, the success of the campaign was most likely the outcome of a mostly arbitrary and random process that required a lot of luck, just as the initial abuse reports didn't succeed because they didn't have the necessary luck on their side. Neither result should be taken to reflect on the merits of the campaigner's actual points." Read on for the rest of Bennett's thoughts.On May 28th, Facebook released a statement acknowledging that it had not responded effectively to complaints against pages containing "gender-based hate speech" (e.g. "Slapping hookers in the face with a shoe." and several much worse examples glorifying rape or violence). The decision came at the end of the "#fbrape" campaign by feminist groups to pressure advertisers whose ads had been appearing on the most offensive pages; major advertisers like Nissan announced that they were withdrawing advertisements from Facebook until they could be assured their ads would not appear on the pages in question (most of which were ultimately shut down by Facebook).

I've written before about the arbitrariness of Facebook's abuse-report process, and in particular how it can be abused by convening a "flash mob" of users to file abuse reports about pieces of content that they want removed, even when that content doesn't violate Facebook's terms. The solution I proposed, briefly, was for Facebook to sign up, say, 100,000 volunteers (or even paid users) to review "abuse reports." and when an abuse report is received, have the report evaluated by a random subset of 100 of those volunteers, to vote on whether the report is legitimate. The decision whether to remove the content can be based on what percent of those 100 users vote that it violates the terms of service. The nice property of this system is that it can't be manipulated by conscripting a "flash mob" of users to file complaints all at once — no matter how many mobsters you have filing abuse reports, if your complaints don't have merit, they won't pass the random-sample review (unless you manage to control a significant proportion of the 100,000 users that the 100 users are randomly selected from, but that would be a very tall order).

This also means that no abuse complaint would be ignored because too few people submitted it — any abusive content that was reported, would trigger the 100-user review. (Or if you thought cranks would waste too much of the reviewers' time by filing phone abuse reports, you could only trigger the 100-user review after, say, 3 people had complained about a given page. Or you could start ignoring complaints from users after they had filed a certain number of complaints that were all rejected by the 100-user review process.) Readers suggested various improvements to the algorithm and pointed out potential problems, but I think the basic idea is still sound.

Some of the abusive pages cited by the #fbrape campaigners, are truly graphic and offensive, certainly in violation of Facebook's "community standards" against "hate speech." If they had been reviewed by a 100-user random sample, they probably would have been removed. As it is, the complaints probably landed in the lap of some $1-an-hour grunt worker who ignored them (Facebook's opacity in regards to its review process gives us little more information than that). If the complainers had been luckier, perhaps the abuse reports might have gotten noticed by someone more proactive.

So even if the #fbrape campaigners didn't put it in these terms, their gripe was essentially that the Facebook complaint review process leads to arbitrary outcomes, and the complaints didn't gain traction because luck wasn't on their side.

But what about the #fbrape campaign itself, to bring the pages to Facebook's attention through media action, after the initial abuse reports were ignored?

This is probably an example of what could be called the "Salganik Effect." Matthew Salganik is a Princeton University professor who in 2006 conducted a study examining how certain songs became popular in simulated worlds in which users could rate songs and recommend them to their friends. In his simulation, he divided users into eight artificial "worlds" in which the users in a given world could only see the ratings and recommendations from other users within that world. Then each world was seeded with the same set of songs to see which songs grew in popularity. His team found that the set of songs which became "successful." varied wildly between worlds — such that within any given world, although the very worst songs never came popular, the set of songs that did become popular were essentially a random selection from among those that were merely "good enough."

Online movements gain traction through such a similar process — users 'liking' a page or recommending it to friends, recommendations radiating out from the popular elite according to Malcolm Gladwell's "Law of the Few -- that this suggests the success of a campaign like #fbrape could have been the result of an arbitrary process dominated by luck, just like the success of a song in one of Salganik's artificial worlds. We can never know for sure, since we can't divide real-life Facebook users into multiple artificial worlds, or re-run history to see how often the outcome would be different. But you should read Everything Is Obvious* (Once You Know The Answer), a book written by Duncan J. Watts, one of the co-authors of Salganik's study. The book argues that many of the outcomes that seem like foregone conclusions in hindsight, such as the success of a product, twitter meme, company, idea, or person, are really the result of an arbitrary process that is impossible to predict, much less control. If you liked Freakonomics or Thinking, Fast And Slow, you should add Everything Is Obvious to your reading list right away.

In the case of the #fbrape campaign, the strong form of the conclusion would be to say that the success of the campaign is probably the outcome of a random process. But everyone should at least agree with the weak form of the conclusion, which is that the success and failures of online campaigns could be a random process — and that it's a mistake to say that the success of a campaign definitely is determined by the merits of the campaign's ideas or by the efforts of the campaign organizers. If we can't prove how much luck has to do with it, we have to acknowledge that it could be quite a lot.

That doesn't mean the #fbrape campaign didn't have merit. Like the songs in Salganik's artificial worlds that were "good enough" to succeed if given the chance, the #fbrape campaign organizers did have a point. But we shouldn't take the phenomenal success of the campaign to mean that they had that much more of a valid point than many other campaigns which fizzled out due to bad luck. (Thus I think that articles like this one by Sandy Garossino, even if they're right about the problem of pro-rape content, are missing the point insofar as they imply that the movement's success was due to the hard work of the "smartest feminists on the planet." It's a bit early to declare that "On May 27th, women won the Internet.")

The initial complaints failed because of an arbitrary process, and then the #fbrape campaign succeeded because of an equally arbitrary process. The next such awareness campaign, even if it has merit, might not have luck on its side.

The arbitrariness in both of these processes can be fixed. For the first process — abuse reports submitted to Facebook — the fix is easy: have each complaint reviewed by a random subset of volunteers or employees who are signed up to review such content, as described above. This makes the outcome dependent on the attributes of the content itself (as it should be), rather than luck and/or the size of the mob that wants something removed.

The arbitrariness in the second process — the process by which memes "catch fire" and spill over into mainstream media and broader awareness — is a taller order, but I think it can be fixed by essentially the same algorithm. What would be required would be for a site that has the power to make new memes through its sheer dominance, like Google+ or Reddit, to implement the random-sample-voting algorithm for memes and calls-to-action. Any user can submit an argument — very broadly, any type of exhortation that "we" should do "something" -- and these arguments could be reviewed by a random sample of, say, 20 other users on the site. Those arguments that have the highest percentage of "Yes" votes would get promoted on the front page. (This is the algorithm I was pushing in a previous article, Censorship By Glut.)

The system sounds deceptively simple, but note what's missing: You can't manipulate the voting by rallying your friends to vote for your idea (or by creating multiple "sockpuppet" accounts to vote up your own post). You don't even have the accidental Salganik effects, where friend-to-friend recommendations result in a chaotic feedback loop where certain ideas race ahead of others due to random factors that have nothing to do with the idea's merits. You've taken the arbitrariness out of the process, so that the fate of the idea is a function only of the attributes of the idea itself, which determines the percentage of randomly sampled users who vote it up. (This is not quite the same as rewarding the ideas with the most "merit" — rather, it's the ideas that the population being sampled perceive to have the most merit — but at least the outcome is not random, and the system cannot be gamed.)

Meanwhile, I hope that Facebook won't err too far on the side of abolishing sexist humor where the humor is in proportion to the offensiveness. In Women, Action & the Media's list of examples of "gender-based hate speech." they included a Facebook page titled "Hope you have pet insurance because I'm about to destroy your pussy." which I would optimistically like to think refers to enthusiastic sex and not rape. (The humor really derives from the fact that the words appear next to a physically unattractive man, which is one group that feminists never seem to get riled up about defending.) And what about jokes about anti-male violence, which were left out of WAM's examples? A friend of mine likes posting things on his Facebook like "I was trying to remember the name of Rihanna's ex, and then it hit me," which I thought was funny, but which some WAM supporters probably would have reported as "abusive content." I wonder how many of those same people would have filed a report if he'd said, "I was about to say the name of Lorena Bobbitt's ex, but I got cut off."

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114 comments

How about a friggin' HATE button? (4, Insightful)

TheRealHocusLocus (2319802) | about 10 months ago | (#44009145)

So tired of this glass three-quarters full smiley touchy feely people are nice crap. Why anyone would produce a social network with the scale of human emotion reduced to 'positive' dandelion buttery-chinned goodness... I cannot imagine.

Bring on an equal measure of opposition and disagreement. Not just an absence of 'like'.

Re:How about a friggin' HATE button? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44009213)

Yeah, until some kid gets 100 friends to HATE on some particular unfortunate other kid, and that kid commits suicide or crimes.

Re:How about a friggin' HATE button? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44009291)

I wish parents would start taking responsibility for their horrible kids. "Cyberbullying" sounds like a blame shifting label for "shitty parents".

Re:How about a friggin' HATE button? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44010291)

A lot, if not most kids that are bullies, learn this behavior by being bullied / abused at home.

Re:How about a friggin' HATE button? (1)

TheRealDevTrash (2849653) | about 10 months ago | (#44012969)

When I was in school and there were bullying incindents, it was 100% always blame the victim. Or my kid's not like that around me, so the victim must be lying.

Re:How about a friggin' HATE button? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44009335)

Yeah, until some kid gets 100 friends to HATE on some particular unfortunate other kid, and that kid commits suicide or crimes.

And if you're weak enough to fall prey to taking your own life over a goddamn electronic vote, then maybe you shouldn't be playing in the deep end of social networking without your fucking swimmies on.

Seems we have no problem handing our teenagers an unlimited portal to online hardcore porn via smartphones and not worry about that twisting their minds, but "won't someone think of the children!!" chants rise out of nowhere when it's fucking Facebook hate sites in the news...yeah, that makes a hell of a lot of sense.

Re:How about a friggin' HATE button? (2, Informative)

Kielistic (1273232) | about 10 months ago | (#44010265)

And if you're weak enough to fall prey to taking your own life over a goddamn electronic vote, then maybe you shouldn't be playing in the deep end of social networking without your fucking swimmies on.

Children think that the school yard is their entire life (because at that point of their life it is their entire life). When they feel that everyone in their school hates them they get the very real feeling that their life is pointless. You are blaming infants that haven't had enough life to gain experience for being inexperienced.

Seems we have no problem handing our teenagers an unlimited portal to online hardcore porn via smartphones and not worry about that twisting their minds

I really have no idea how you have missed all the "porn on the internet is hurting our children" diatribe. All in all you're a pretty ignorant AC.

Re:How about a friggin' HATE button? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44010329)

The longer you treat an infant as an infant, the longer it stays an infant. If schools were magical places that automatically wiped kids' minds of any memories related to bullying at the end of each school day, we'd all be deeply concerned over the suicide rates of mid-20s to late 30s instead.

Re:How about a friggin' HATE button? (1)

Applekid (993327) | about 10 months ago | (#44011657)

And if you're weak enough to fall prey to taking your own life over a goddamn electronic vote, then maybe you shouldn't be playing in the deep end of social networking without your fucking swimmies on.

Children think that the school yard is their entire life (because at that point of their life it is their entire life). When they feel that everyone in their school hates them they get the very real feeling that their life is pointless. You are blaming infants that haven't had enough life to gain experience for being inexperienced.

Bullying is not new. It's cruel, yes, and feelings get hurt, but it's been around for as long as there has been a pecking order. Animals even exhibit bullying behavior. The alpha male in a pack will pick on others, steal their food, have sex with many females, etc. This is a natural state. But from this natural state, intelligence can emerge.

Take Capuchin monkeys. They forage in groups and they're always on the lookout for predators. If one finds food, the bullies will beat him up and try to take the food from the weaker. So what is a hungry monkey to do? Lie. After spotting some food, weak monkeys will cry out indicating a predator is around and all the other monkeys will take cover, while he can eat the food himself. Of course, if he's spotted, he winds up getting beat up WORSE by the bullies and some peers, because he has stolen from the group and, hell, why not, everyone's ganging up.

Perhaps bullying emerged out of this, and there's no doubt it's part of the individual maturing and joining society because it's been around forever. It's a very natural thing and it's pretty reasonable to expect it to occur and play out. Like watching a lion rip a zebra to shreds, it's presumptuous to think you know better than what is natural. Without bullying, who knows what kinds of problems we're breeding into the future. What kinds of mental illnesses or inabilities to cope we are introducing into our society 20 years down the road? Teen suicide isn't new either. Those who commit suicide, even if they were stopped from doing so, probably wouldn't have been very effective adults if we were to consider them logically instead of emotionally.

The one thing that IS different now is that kids no longer have a sanctuary from the judgment of their peers. That's not the problem of being judged poorly, that's the problem of (surprise!) parenting. Giving kids cell phones to get ugly words and disgusting pictures sent to them 24/7 is a mistake. Unsupervised access to social media is a mistake. If there is one thing that needs a tighter grip these days are sites like Facebook. I'd really like to see it treated the same way we treat gambling. It's just not appropriate for children to be gambling, and it's not appropriate for children to be so social.

Re:How about a friggin' HATE button? (3, Informative)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 10 months ago | (#44009239)

How about not using friggin' Facebook at all?

Re:How about a friggin' HATE button? (1)

TheRealHocusLocus (2319802) | about 10 months ago | (#44009273)

How about not using friggin' Facebook at all?

I wouldn't if I just had some friggin' friends on Slashdot.

(Checking again) Nope.

Re:How about a friggin' HATE button? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44009415)

Friends are just people who haven't stabbed you in the back yet.

Re:How about a friggin' HATE button? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44009527)

Now that is a truly positive look on society. Machiavelli approves!

Re:How about a friggin' HATE button? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44009509)

What are friends???

Re:How about a friggin' HATE button? (2)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 10 months ago | (#44010813)

As you experience certain sensory input patterns, your mental pathways become accustomed to them. The input is eventually anticipated, and even missed when absent.

Re:How about a friggin' HATE button? (1)

Seumas (6865) | about 10 months ago | (#44009737)

How about having friends in real life? Then you don't need facebook or anything similar at all.

My account consists of nothing but an image that says my email address and says if you want to talk with me, you should know how to reach me and if you don't know how to reach me, use my email address -- but either way, never expect a response on FB, because I don't use it.

People like to throw the excuse around that they just use facebook because "it's where all my friends are" or "to keep in touch with family", but I call bullshit on that. You can use email to keep in touch with friends and family. Or even better, visit them or make a fucking phone call. The best part is, then you can just deal with the important stuff and not spend every second of every day listening to the most mundane and trivial bullshit of every person's life.

Re:How about a friggin' HATE button? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44010571)

When answer my grandma's phone calls with, "Hide this; only show important updates from grandma" she gets grumpy.

Really though, I wish more people would take your advice. I hate to log into facebook to see messages like: "Why didn't you respond to my party invitation?" "Why are you ignoring my PMs?" to which I have to reply: "Why don't you just friggin call me?"

Re:How about a friggin' HATE button? (1)

tompaulco (629533) | about 10 months ago | (#44010651)

"Why are you ignoring my PMs?"
You just made my day. I have no idea what a PM is in relation to facebook, and that makes me happy.

Re:How about a friggin' HATE button? (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 10 months ago | (#44010821)

I also had no idea that registering on Facebook gave you access to prime ministers.

Re:How about a friggin' HATE button? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44013127)

PM = "private message". It's the generic term used for e-mail systems within other systems (i.e. forums, etc.), and it's not what Facebook calls them. Facebook calls them "Facebook messages".

Re:How about a friggin' HATE button? (1)

gmuslera (3436) | about 10 months ago | (#44009419)

There are a lot of things that you disagree that you just don't see (fortunately, in some cases). And there are a lot of people that believe in things that are just not real, or "wrong" by any scientific measure. So or you rig the representation not getting close,or getting a lot of the "wrong" people close you rig everything. The only way to win is not play the game. Just don't login.

Re:How about a friggin' HATE button? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44009647)

If only others have tought about this, they sure would've coded sites that do just that.

Re:How about a friggin' HATE button? (2)

psithurism (1642461) | about 10 months ago | (#44010869)

You can just ignore it, hide the person entirely, or comment on why you are unable to ignore their post and let them know you hate it.

"Like" is just shorthand for: "I read this and it pleased me." On message boards that this option is unavailable, you get 30 "I liked this!" "Great Post!" etc before you get to actual comments and I really wish every board would implement "Like" already.

On the other hand, hate could mean "I hate everything you post" "I hate that you didn't invite me" "I have a counterargument to this post" which you should really just type out instead of leaving them wondering why you clicked the Hate button.

P.S. I hate your post.

Re:How about a friggin' HATE button? (1)

BlackSupra (742450) | about 10 months ago | (#44011713)

Facebook defines Negative Feedback as:

  • Hide: hide this story
  • Hide All: hide all stories from a Page
    Report Spam
    Unlike Page

Re:How about a friggin' HATE button? (1)

arth1 (260657) | about 10 months ago | (#44013027)

Unlike Page

Who is Page, and what's she usually like, then?

(Unlike is not a verb - yet.)

Facebook (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44009155)

People are still on Facebook? Even as Zuck the Fuck is trying to change laws to give Americans' jobs to foreigners? Even as Facebook is giving everything away to the NSA and selling everything else to whomever wants it? Even though social networks are now widely considered a vanity thing unacceptable even for teenyboppers?

HAW!
 
  -- Ethanol-fueled

Re:Facebook (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44009229)

Nothing better than using Google Chrome on Microsoft Windows to access Facebook. Anything less is anti-American!

Americans have the privacy they deserve (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44011231)

The last week has been most telling. More Americans consider the NSA leaker a patriot, rather than a traitor, and some are outraged about their lack of privacy.

This is in spite of most Americans choosing to use Facebook, a company that will try to guess profiles of people that are not members, and do some social engineering to get them to join. Many people choose to use Facebook Comments on various websites. Facebook will actually sell your information to companies that will use that information, unlike highly classified spies that want to kill terrorists, answer to congressional committees, and don't care about your boring friends. People participate in grocery store data mining programs, in exchange for a 5 percent discount.

Many Americans supported big and expensive nation building operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, and 'supporting the troops' on the grounds of fighting 'them', 'over there', and it cost America over a trillion dollars. Americans don't know that Bill Clinton launched the Kosovo War without much support from Congress, or that there was not large scale ethnic cleansing, and that the KLA were drug dealers. Now, the People in DC are committing to go to war with China, on the behalf of Vietnam and Malaysia over some islands, or that Japan is claiming some islands, the Ryukyu Kingdom said were Chinese in a six hundred year old treaty.

When you fight terrorists on your home turf, you have the police, the populace on your side, and the telecommunications systems on your side. Especially, when the terrorists think the later is not, and will let down their guard, like those Chechnyans in Boston did with their screwed up car robbery a few months back. At least Congress had the smarts to do widespread survellance, when parts of the populace were calling for greater action, like war. A leaker could have been more productive, and leaked about the surveillance of OWS, and Congress could take action... or show its colors. But, no, the stupid leaker, felt he knew better than members of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, al qaeda is going to be more careful with its communications. Just like when Osama stopped using his satellite phone, when the New York Times reported that Osama was being tracked by his satellite phone.

Americans got the privacy they chose to have. May the leaker from a bullet wound to the face.

Umm sexist much (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44009217)

I know this site is mostly read by guys, so I guess we should expect sexist comments abou humourless feminists.

Re:Umm sexist much (0)

similar_name (1164087) | about 10 months ago | (#44009403)

I know this site is mostly read by guys, so I guess we should expect

And that's not sexist how?

Re:Umm sexist much (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44009439)

Because it's factually correct?

Re:Umm sexist much (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 10 months ago | (#44009519)

I think he means the "so we should expect" part is sexist because it makes an assumption about what males will do simply because they're male. I don't think he has a problem with the "Slashdot is mostly read by males" part.

Re:Umm sexist much (1)

similar_name (1164087) | about 10 months ago | (#44009921)

You are correct. It would appear the AC only thinks sexism occurs with regards to women. As for the moderators, I would have been fine with a -1 off-topic, but -1 overrated is just someone who uses mod points to disagree.

Re:Umm sexist much (1)

tompaulco (629533) | about 10 months ago | (#44010703)

You are correct. It would appear the AC only thinks sexism occurs with regards to women. As for the moderators, I would have been fine with a -1 off-topic, but -1 overrated is just someone who uses mod points to disagree.

Ah, the hypocrisy of society. Women are allowed to make sexist comments with impunity. Just like how minorities are allowed to form racially specific groups without retribution. Could you imagine the uproar if we were to make a white's only awards show? Or a magazine called "Ivory"?

Re:Umm sexist much (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44010789)

Because it's factually correct?

There is no reason a statement can't be both sexist and factually correct. The grandparent is a good example. It implies that people on slashdot are men, and men on slashdot are more likely to make sexist comments than other forums.

Re:Umm sexist much (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44010133)

That's not /. making the comment. Are you stupid? You must be a woman ;)

subjectivity (3, Insightful)

micahraleigh (2600457) | about 10 months ago | (#44009233)

What is so wrong about letting people make their own choices? Why are people trying to demonize decisions as "arbitrary" and "random"?

I trust human discretion a thousand times over policy. Policy is just a coat of varnish people put over to make things look better. Are we to be slaves to appearances all the time?

I'm going back to reading my Kierkegaard now ...

Re:subjectivity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44009383)

He's not calling the choices random. He's saying that their degrees of influence are. A hundred people may all make sound, rational choices (say, to recommend a product), but when word of mouth, personal influence, etc. are taken into account it appears completely random which of those choices will count most to observers (say, which product you buy after reading those hundred reviews).

Re:subjectivity (1)

micahraleigh (2600457) | about 10 months ago | (#44009569)

Ah, I stand corrected. I guess the slant of the posts here (i.e. memes) are not as predictable as I thought.

Apologies ...

Strange term (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44009257)

People who are against "pro-rape" pages are now considered "humourless feminists"? That strikes me as a poor choice of words. I would like to think all sane people would be put off by "pro-rape" propaganda.

Re:Strange term (1)

Bobakitoo (1814374) | about 10 months ago | (#44009385)

People who are against "pro-rape" pages are now considered "humourless feminists"? That strikes me as a poor choice of words. I would like to think all sane people would be put off by "pro-rape" propaganda.

Pro-rape is acceptable and often funny when men are the victims. The "humourless feminist" is obviously a reference to the fact that some of these feminists will often rejoice and laugh at the idea of prison rape and male mutilation but become humourless when it's the other way around. The 'pro-rape' jokes are to highlight their hypocrisy on that matter. (eg: It is a troll in the traditional sense, and IMHO the only valid sense of the word)

Re:Strange term (2)

Seumas (6865) | about 10 months ago | (#44009813)

I don't even buy that these "pages" are real. There have been plenty of recent examples where someone staged hateful and sickening violent threatening (in at least one case, misogynist) comments on someone's page on facebook. Turns out, it was the "victim" herself leaving these messages from other accounts, to generate attention, sympathy, and publicity.

So . . . excuse me if I don't immediately buy into the bullshit, here.

Also, people shouldn't rely on some uber corp as their source of publishing and reading free-thought of any kind. If you want to say hideous shit or controversial shit and not be pressured by anyone or have something removed, put up a website.

Re:Strange term (1)

Vanderhoth (1582661) | about 10 months ago | (#44009481)

From what I've heard Facebook also allows some feminist groups to post comments calling for the castration of men on their site, so I'd say they were just being equal opportunity by allowing comments from the other side. My opinion is if you don't like it don't read it, but it seems censorship and making sure no one can read it is a much better choice.

Re:Strange term (2)

geminidomino (614729) | about 10 months ago | (#44009827)

"Pro-rape" comments apparently include this [tinyurl.com] and this [tinyurl.com] [PDF warning].

If you think either of those endorses rape, you might be a redneck^Wfeminist.

Modbomb incoming. Come at me, bro.

women (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44009285)

help out abused women and children by visiting everysecondmatters.ca WOO!!!

Oh no, we must censor! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44009301)

Honestly, when it comes to face book, is there really a need to take things down? Sure, if someone posts illegal bits (child porn), the legally have to get rid of it, but just wacky opinions and offensive stuff? Here in the US (where FaceBook is incorporated), we let people be Nazi and we don't make the Westboro Baptist Church shut up. The Ku Klux Klan gets legal protection for their speech here. This freedom to state your opinions (and make offensive jokes) is the main freedom we have left in this country. Its also the freedom to make yourself look like an insensitive idiot.

I find it sad that people want to take down crap on FaceBook, and also sad that FaceBook complies. FaceBook is under no obligation to take this stuff done, nor are they under any obligation to keep it up. Its purely a decision on their part: they simple think having some censorship is more profitable, so they do so. They may even be right about that, but that is kinda sad.

Re:Oh no, we must censor! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44010377)

Facebook is a private business, and the First Amendment doesn't apply. While censorship may be unwelcome, when signing up, I'm sure there is a codicil in the TOS that says they, Facebook, can delete anything they want.

The First Amendment insures that the citizens and the press can speak out about the current government and not worry about being jailed because their opinions conflict with the government's policy.

Re:Oh no, we must censor! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44011613)

Yep, they are allowed to be horrible in this respect. I'm not saying they can't or shouldn't censor stuff, I'm simply saying I value their service less as a user because they do this.

i wonder (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44011941)

Facebook is a private business, and the First Amendment doesn't apply.

how can this be true, actually? first amendment:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

since corps exist only by laws allowing them to, free speech should apply transitively, since "no law" can "[abridge] the freedom of speech"

Re:i wonder (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44012545)

I'm not required to post your thoughts on my blog for example. No one is required to provide speech for anyone else. FaceBook give people some extra ways to speak, they are not in the business of restricting it. If you want to eliminate spam filters on comments and non wiki pages on constitutional rights grounds, feel free to try.

If facebook did not exist, you couldn't post there. Don't claim we have a constitutional right to have face book access: thats stupid. They could shut it down legally if they wanted to.

Re:Oh no, we must censor! (1)

ojno (2490970) | about 10 months ago | (#44010483)

The point wasn't that they were censoring stuff; the point was that they were censoring some things but not others, in an asinine way. For example, they were censoring photos of breastfeeding children if one pixel of nipple was shown, but not photos of beaten-up women with captions like "Haha she deserved it."

Re:Oh no, we must censor! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44011581)

The point wasn't that they were censoring stuff; the point was that they were censoring some things but not others, in an asinine way.

For example, they were censoring photos of breastfeeding children if one pixel of nipple was shown, but not photos of beaten-up women with captions like "Haha she deserved it."

Yes, the censoring is biased, subjective and not ideal. Isn't that the whole point of censorship, as well as the whole opposition to it? No matter what they censor, someone will make your exact claim: they censor things I think are ok, but not other things bad I think are bad.

My point was that we (as a country) make a point of preventing censoring things, even if they really are quite horrible. This is important. Its the only way to not subjectively suppress people (some people are assholes, but they still have rights).

I'd don't see how you can possibly classify a horribly biased process process of removing content as not a censorship issue. Thats is exactly the standard problem with censorship. Facebook censors random crap, China censors random crap.

Now, if only everyone thought your way, we should censor anything a majority of the people disliked (Or is it just stuff you dislike?). This is a very bad approach to take here.

I'd much rather have stuff around that I disprove of and think should be removed than have a system for removing said things. However, this is a publicly owned company: they have to do what ever makes the most money, which can, and often does, include generally evil anti-freedom type stuff. Thats absolutely fine, but its not what I would prefer.

Now, as to what FaceBook should do to maximize its profits, your point is about right I suspect. In my parent post though, I was't referring to what they should do business wise, I was referring to how what they are doing is kinda shitty as far as free speech goes. Its well withing their rights to be kinda shitty free speech wise (they aren't the government), but I'll criticize them for it and avoid using their services.

This happens to be the main reason I dislike using services like FaceBook: they don't support my values of free speech and won't (for financial reason) as long as most of their users (like you!) prefer censorship.

The internet survives on hype (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44009303)

I don't think the 100k reviewers would work out in practice as smoothly as Haselton does, simply because definitions of 'abuse' vary so widely that even a set of 100 reviewers might be dominated by chance of juror selection, but his wider point about luck and hype is completely spot on. Trying to follow the shifting tides of *-o-spheres on the internet is a study in transience and whims. One could probably build a powerful random number generation system by examining popular keywords and phrases of highly populated sites.

Of course, everyone probably knows this, and the hype about a 'successful movement' is probably itself another spin on the news story roulette wheel. Eh, it could be worse. It could be another terrible youtube song.

Luck (1)

Antipater (2053064) | about 10 months ago | (#44009305)

Yes, random chance is a factor in which grassroots campaigns take hold. Luck is a factor in everything. Luck is a factor in Mr. Haselton's proposed solution as well (basically extending the "internet jury duty" idea he's pushed in many other posts) - if this campaign had been reviewed by 20 random internet-users who just so happen to be militant anti-feminists, then it would've been killed on the spot.

The luck factor of a success can be minimized by actually being better than the alternatives. In the Salganik study, though the popular songs were chosen randomly, they were chosen randomly from the better subset of songs. No "world" chose a crappy song to be popular. And that study was on a very subjective medium - how good or bad a song was. In something that is generally more agreed-upon, such as "rape is bad", the luck factor is understandably much diminished.

So just because a success has a luck factor involved, that's not a reason to cast doubt on the veracity of the success. If you run a simulated NFL season a million times, certainly the same team will not win the Super Bowl all million times. When an actual team then does win the Super Bowl, does that take away from their victory, that part of it came from luck? No.

Re:Luck (1)

bennetthaselton (1016233) | about 10 months ago | (#44009631)

There will always be *some* luck, but the point is that if only a minority of people in your user base are militant anti-feminists, you'd have to be extremely unlucky for them to make up a majority of your 20 randomly selected users. If aberrations in the random user subset still seemed to happen to frequently, you could (a) increase the subset size to something more than 20, or (b) have an "appeal" option where if you happened to get really unlucky in the first round, you could appeal to another group of 20 people. (To prevent the appeal option from being overused, perhaps make people fill out a bunch of captchas or pay some tiny amount in order to "appeal", refundable if their appeal wins.)

Yes, even in the Salganik studies or in the real world, you have to be "good enough" in order to get a "big break", but my concern is that with the chaotic luck-dominated process that we have now, the number of qualified people (or songs, or ideas) is vastly greater than the number that do get the "big break", and their potential is being wasted. (In the NFL, by contrast, even the losing teams get paid well and provide entertainment value to fans, unlike musicians who are not lucky enough to get discovered.)

Re:Luck (1)

Antipater (2053064) | about 10 months ago | (#44010121)

Yes, even in the Salganik studies or in the real world, you have to be "good enough" in order to get a "big break", but my concern is that with the chaotic luck-dominated process that we have now, the number of qualified people (or songs, or ideas) is vastly greater than the number that do get the "big break", and their potential is being wasted. (In the NFL, by contrast, even the losing teams get paid well and provide entertainment value to fans, unlike musicians who are not lucky enough to get discovered.)

I don't see how your solution changes that, though. Assuming it's implemented properly, wouldn't the ideas that already get their big break still make it through the screening alongside others that wouldn't have, and then be subject to the whims of the people? It seems like all you'd be doing is having a layer of bureaucracy to do what the Salganik effect already does. So as an example, in the current, free-range internet, there'd be a million potential memes, of which 20,000 qualify as "good enough" for the Salganik effect, and then two or three get their big break. In your proposed system, the jury would examine the million possible memes, whittle them down to probably around 20,000, then release them to the greater public, and then two or three would get the big break from there. Extra effort for similar results.

You also have to account for the fact that people do not like being told what to believe in. You suggest sites like Reddit start doing this - wouldn't Redditors cry censorship, and simply move to a site that didn't? A jury system works in real-life courts because it's difficult to move to a different country when a jury hands down a verdict you don't like (think of the outrage after the Casey Anthony acquittal, for instance). All it would take would be one high-profile "hey look how great my idea was, and the jury voted it down!" for people to start switching over to a Reddit-Sans-Jury, and we'd be back where we started.

So you have a system that's ineffective on both sides. If it skews too lenient, then it would simply slice out the fraction of bad memes that would already be ignored. If it skews too draconian, then people will simply go to a different website.

Dear Mr. Bennett Haselton (1)

a_big_favor (2550262) | about 10 months ago | (#44009325)

some anti-women and pro-rape pages on Facebook... humorless feminists.

We have different senses of humor.

What's the point of this? (4, Insightful)

Brucelet (1857158) | about 10 months ago | (#44009397)

Remind me again why Bennett Haselton gets to use the Slashdot front page as his personal blog?

Re:What's the point of this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44009505)

Dunno, but he can't tell the difference between interrupting a person and physically abusing them:

"A friend of mine likes posting things on his Facebook like "I was trying to remember the name of Rihanna's ex, and then it hit me," which I thought was funny, but which some WAM supporters probably would have reported as "abusive content." I wonder how many of those same people would have filed a report if he'd said, "I was about to say the name of Lorena Bobbitt's ex, but I got cut off.""

Re:What's the point of this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44009805)

Except that both John Bobbitt and Rihanna are victims of physical abuse. The *actual* difference here is Bobbit was male and therefore WAM supporters would not be concerned.

Re: What's the point of this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44009873)

"it hit me" is an idiom for an idea popping into one's head. It also literally refers to beating someone. (As Chris Brown did to Rihanna.)

"got cut off" is an idiom for being interrupted. It also literally refers to cutting off someone's penis. (As Lorena Bobbitt did to her husband, whose name escapes me.)

These are both funny because of that double meaning, and they're pretty nicely paralleled. When you say Bennie Hasslewhatsit is equating the literal meaning of one and the idiomatic meaning of the other, either you didn't get one of the meanings, or you're just plain trolling.

Re: What's the point of this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44010125)

Ah, sorry bout that. I did not get it.

Re:What's the point of this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44009879)

Dunno, but he can't tell the difference between interrupting a person and physically abusing them:

While I'm no fan of Bennett, I'm guessing you don't know who Lorena Bobbitt is, or what she did. Or you don't consider getting your dick cut off to be physically abusing to someone.

Re:What's the point of this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44010071)

Dunno, but he can't tell the difference between interrupting a person and physically abusing them:

While I'm no fan of Bennett, I'm guessing you don't know who Lorena Bobbitt is, or what she did. Or you don't consider getting your dick cut off to be physically abusing to someone.

Of course it isn't! Remember, that's a disfigurement happening to a MALE, so that automatically makes it funny and what's-his-face probably deserved it anyway, like all men do! Therefore, justice!</misandry>

Re:What's the point of this? (1)

Seumas (6865) | about 10 months ago | (#44010053)

How about all the women on twitter and facebook after Chris Brown beat the ever loving shit out of Rihanna and they were running around saying they'd let him beat the hell out of them? And attacking *her* for being beat up by him? That was pretty sickening shit. I didn't see any defense force out for that.

Pretty hideous shit, but it seems better to just let people be hideous so everyone else can have a platform to respond to them, which in turn emphasizes just how stupid the original hideous comments *are*.

Anyway . . .

"Call me crazy, buttttttt I would let Chris Brown beat me up anyyyy day"

"Everyone shut up about Chris brown being a woman beater... Shiiittt he can beat me up all night if he wants"

"Not gonna lie.. I think I'd let Chris Brown beat me #sosexy #lovehim #awkwardtweet #dontevencare"

"I'd let Chris Brown beat me up anytime ;) #womanbeater"

"I'd let Chris Brown beat me up"

"Like I've said multiple times before, Chris Brown can beat me all he wants.l... I'd do anything to have him oh my"

"chris brown could beat me all he wants, he is flawless"

"Chris brown.. Please beat me ;)"

"Chris brown could beat me up all he wants #idontcurr"

"I don't know why Rihanna complained. Chris Brown could beat me anytime he wanted to"

"Damn chris brown you can beat me up anytyme boo!"

"I would let Chris Brown beat me"

"I'd let Chris Brown beat me any day;)"

"I'd let chris brown punch me in the face"

"id let chris brown beat me"

"ok not gonna lie i'd let chris brown beat the eff out of me"

"i wish chris brown would punch me"

"Chris Brown could serenade me and then punch me in the eye. I'm down for it."

"I'd let chris brown punch me in the face"

"Dude, Chris brown can punch me in the face as much as he wants to, just as long as he kisses it (:"

"Chris brown can punch me ANY DAY."

"Okay i'd let Chris brown punch me in the face"

"chris brown can punch me whenever he wants #love"

source: http://www.buzzfeed.com/mjs538/horrible-reactions-to-chris-brown-at-the-grammys#21312sf [buzzfeed.com]

http://www.chicagonow.com/families-in-the-loop/files/2013/02/rihanna-abuse.jpg [chicagonow.com]

Re:What's the point of this? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44009713)

I think slashdot's so called editors feel like slashdot needs to field some original content to justify their own jobs, but they neither know how to write nor know anyone who knows how to write.

So it happens that every so often some determined hanger-on, such as Bennett Haselton, starts submitting crap like this to slashdot and it the editors dutifully publish it because it fills that gap in their lives.

Re:What's the point of this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44010081)

Agreed. This is faux-social justice garbage and does not belong on here any more than a story about any other random set of moderators would.

Re:What's the point of this? (1)

psithurism (1642461) | about 10 months ago | (#44010895)

It was most likely the outcome of a mostly arbitrary and random process that required a lot of luck.

Shut the fuck up Bennett (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44009399)

Seriously, you are a windbag.

TL;DR: Blah blah blah

Legal questions (1)

intermodal (534361) | about 10 months ago | (#44009457)

I'm sure Facebook looked at the legal liabilities of allowing such content on their service in their decision. It wasn't simple campaigning. If it weren't for the problems of people posting openly about illegal activity, this would have fallen on deaf ears. There's a reason that campaigning hasn't convinced Facebook to stop treating breastfeeding photos as pornography, despite the constant campaigning by groups of mothers. There's no potential for getting sued for deleting their content (breastfeeding is explicitly protected in, I believe, 48 states), but there is potential for liability if Facebook does nothing about people openly claiming to be guilty of or proposing and condoning the commission of violent personal felonies against individuals.

Re:Legal questions (1)

Seumas (6865) | about 10 months ago | (#44010065)

Huh? What are the legal liabilities of "#throwshoesathookers" or whatever?

Re:Legal questions (1)

arth1 (260657) | about 10 months ago | (#44013063)

Huh? What are the legal liabilities of "#throwshoesathookers" or whatever?

Well, if they're bad shoes, the hookers could twist their ankles or even fall and hurt themselves.

RTFS (1)

dantotheman (2887483) | about 10 months ago | (#44009463)

Normally I'm one the few ./ers that actually RTFS. But seriously, this summary is longer than most articles that pop up on here...

I need a tl;dr version of the summary.

I get it! (1)

larry bagina (561269) | about 10 months ago | (#44009479)

Bennett isn't crapflooding us, he's crapflooding the NSA. I guess he's hoping that if he writes enough pointless shit like this, the NSA's AI bots will commit suicide.

In fact, he may not be a person at all but some sort of low quality chinese AI script designed to write longwinded and boring essays.

Re:I get it! (1)

bennetthaselton (1016233) | about 10 months ago | (#44009743)

osteoporosis helpful paprika diem brandon alert inveigh martyr superfluity couple amphibious dutchman sienna careworn gladiator primacy tournament productivity cohesion infusible cheery wicket utopia nasa suckling annum juju baden pusey besotted harvard tractor formal gracious chevalier bedrock kindred sacred vagrant doria timid bonnet haag beet cutout bridgeport calligraph lockstep

ERMAHGERD (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44009499)

Bernert Herseltern!

But seriously, why is Slashdot now his personal soapbox?

This is fun (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44009557)

> humorless feminists.

I want to rape Bennett Haselton, 'cause it's so funny. Huzzaa..
That bitch want it so much. Oh yeah, I will rape him and beat the shit out of him. It's so fucking hilarious. Can't stop laughing.
And he will like it so much, he will scream. Scream for more.

Got the point? Hope so.

Edit : Captcha : gaping. How fitting for his bleeding butthole.

Re:This is fun (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44010407)

I'm sorry Miss this bill is counterfeit.

Oh my god, I've been raped!

Influence Facebook? (1)

DogDude (805747) | about 10 months ago | (#44009593)

I don't understand why anybody thinks that as Facebook products/users, they'd have any ability at all to influence Facebook. Seems pretty silly for me to use a service for free and think that you'd be able to have any say as to the quality of the service. I think that some people forget that they're not the customers, but the *products* that Facebook sells to customers. This guy seems to think that Facebook is some sort of public utility that regular people have some sort of rights to influence.

Go Miami! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44009603)

Fuck Facebook.

This is not unique to misogynistic content (5, Interesting)

SuperBanana (662181) | about 10 months ago | (#44009669)

Welcome to 2010 when cycling groups noticed a surge in anti-cyclist pages, advocating intentionally harassing or injuring cyclists. In some cases, posters proudly brag about harassing and striking cyclists.

Facebook has formally refused to remove the groups despite clearly violating their policies. [streetsblog.org]

Re:This is not unique to misogynistic content (1)

Seumas (6865) | about 10 months ago | (#44010111)

Actually, it's probably a fantastic idea that Facebook doesn't allow anything to be posted that might be naughty in any way whatsoever (because, you know, words are obviously worse than actual actions or something). I mean, think about it. Law enforcement groups of all kinds trawl Facebook both to uncover crimes and to find proof of guilt for crimes they've already picked someone up for. If someone is a jackhole and smacked a bicyclist (no matter how much they often fucking deserve it) and then the cops dig around their Facebook profile and see a bunch of posts about smacking cyclists, then . . . well . . .

But if Facebook doesn't allow you to post anything "questionable", then Facebook is no longer a useful resource for uncovering the dirt to help establish guilt for an action.

Re:This is not unique to misogynistic content (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44010849)

If posters are proudly bragging about harassing and striking cyclists, isn't that a matter for the police rather than Facebook? That sounds like me to someone confessing to attempted murder.

Re:This is not unique to misogynistic content (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 10 months ago | (#44012393)

I've got some rope and two trees at the bottom of a hill waiting for critical mass to try their BS here.

Random? Luck? (5, Insightful)

mooingyak (720677) | about 10 months ago | (#44009733)

In reality, the success of the campaign was most likely the outcome of a mostly arbitrary and random process that required a lot of luck

1. Someone shows Nissan and other major advertisers how advertisements for their products were showing up on pages advocating/glorifying rape.
2. Nissan (and other) execs pretty much instantly say "Holy Shit I don't want us associated with that" and pull ads from FB, COSTING FACEBOOK HUGE GOBS OF MONEY.
3. Facebook starts addressing the problem.

#fbrape hit them in the wallet. There's nothing random or lucky about it.

Re:Random? Luck? (2)

mooingyak (720677) | about 10 months ago | (#44009759)

In reality, the success of the campaign was most likely the outcome of a mostly arbitrary and random process that required a lot of luck

Forgot to mention, that sentence needs to be taken out and shot.

Hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44009739)

I don't know why Facebook should be forced to remove jokes that feminists find offensive. It shouldn't be Facebook's job to be the PC police on tasteless jokes, but I guess feminists are a strong enough political movement that they managed to enforce their will on Facebook. I'm sure that tasteless jokes about men do not get a beep on anyone's radar. What's next? Religious jokes? Can't have those heathens blaspheming, after all...

you're mistaken Bennett (1)

nimbius (983462) | about 10 months ago | (#44010055)

Its facebook, hence youre the product. The product does not complain or pout or campaign. The product is sold to the market, and as long as a market exists for gender based hate speech the pages will exist as well.

now, with Nissan, you are a consumer. if you as a consumer dont appreciate their marketing on these pages then by all means direct your complaints to them. in turn Nissan will demand a partial refund for poor demographic targeting and insist facebook fine-tune its system to prevent further unrest and complaint from their customers.

Sad but true (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44010167)

These days, whoever whines the most wins.

So your solution (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 10 months ago | (#44010757)

TO "$1-an-hour grunt worker[s]" who are ineffective, you claim.
Is to get minimal or zero paid workers. Which is what they apparently already have. So you just want more of them?

So basically, that entire essay is just saying that they should expand their workforce and have multiple people look at each report

Trust But Verify (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44011085)

Where can we access these allegedly pro-rape and anti-woman pages, to verify that the complaints aren't simply misandrist reactionaries?

Another recent case (1)

NoNotTheMindProbe (2950605) | about 10 months ago | (#44012305)

I have lost track of the number of times Facebook have removed a post arbitrarily. To them, a picture showing a woman breastfeeding, or a lady displaying her mastectomy scars is labelled as "pornographic", resulting in images removed, and the user banned for varying times, while Facebook turns a blind eye to groups advocating rape and violence. This week, Facebook did nothing when the contact phone number of a mental hospital in the US were published and a post urged people to call up to harrass the staff and "loonies". Hell, Facebook even refused to ban links to a movie showing a real-life execution as it didn't violate their terms of service. But when Zuckerberg's sister's pictures were stolen from Facebook and plastered all over the internet, Facebook were damned quick to react then! Lets see how they react to the proposed prosecution by the Italian authorities which has stemmed from an on-line bullying campaign that made a young girl kill herself. Maybe they'll finally take all this seriously....

This overlaps with something a friend of mine, Jon Smith, is experiencing at the moment. He collects ocean liner memorabilia and posts them on his various Facebook groups (such as "The Olympic Class Liners"). He watermarks them in line with Facebook's policy of showing where images come from, and also to protect his investment as pictures are routinely lifted and passed off as someone else's property. The watermarks show that the images in this case have come from his own collection and not pilfered by right clicking Google images.

This has angered other groups, such as "Lovers of the Ocean Liners" who routinely steal other's pictures, usually claiming them off as their own images. Of course they can't do this with watermarked images, so they are particularly irate. This theft has irked other observers external to FB too too, such as this lot [shipspotting.com] . "Lovers of the Ocean Liners" are an odd bunch, prone to banning people on a whim, routinely lying about pictures and so on. Three of their admins (Kipfer Fox, Carl Ireton and Gene Speroni (now posting under the name Virgil Gene)) have received permanent bans from Facebook for theft but somehow they always seem to come back and gloat about how they get around Facebook. So far the watermarking has resulted in some grumbling, but things went to a new level when one user accused my friend Jon of plagiarising pictures by right clicking and putting his name on the images, thereby in his view, laying claim to not just the odd postcard Jon has bought, but EVERY single instance of that photo created since the dawn of time. This man doesn't seem to realize that there is an infinity of different in watermarking an instance of a picture and copyrighting all images.

This is where it starts to get really unpleasant. The user referred to above has taken his malice to new levels. He set up a facebook group called "Fakers frauds and other plagiaristic pariahs" to hound the copyright thieves but it in a group set up mainly to attack Jon and his friends. You may think "So what, this is just is a silly spat over very old photographs, well outside of copyright". You may have a point. BUT on that "Fakers Frauds..." page, the "gentleman" in question took to posting homophobic slurs and various threats. He said that he would have his friends break Jon's legs. He made comments about Jon and his friends molesting people. He even accused one lad of being a child molester with not a single piece of evidence presented. There are many other examples. The man, Mike Crowe (who also goes under the FB name Michael Crowe, thereby breaking Facebook's one-account-per-person rule) is an interesting man. He claims to be have been a director of a cruise line but when contacted they say that he hasn't worked for them for over a year (he has since changed his details); his inability to articulate except in crude terms would not seem to be on par with someone who claimed to study at Oxford University and then served at the RAF. He claims to live in San Diego or Laguna Beach, but when things took a turn for the worse, he then said that he was living in China, to avoid detection.

The threats of violence and accusations have resulted in a disinterested attitude from the UK police who say that people are entitled to their own opinions, thereby ignoring the laws of various countries that it is illegal to make such threats on-line. The UK police therefore won't pass the details on to the FBI, who would investigate threats made on US soil. And what have Facebook said about all this? To them, it doesn't violate their terms of service and they see nothing wrong. This is when someone actually replies. Out of dozens of reports, only about three replies have been received all saying the same thing; "we see nothing wrong" - or words to that effect. One spirited US lawyer replied to this brush-off by telling FB that to accuse someone of paedophilia and threats of violence not only breaks Facebook's own terms of service but also violates the laws of several countries. The nasty stuff disappeared from Crowe's pages for about a day after this. The US lawyer had even said that she was not afraid to bring in the media. Facebook evidently gave this "threat" the finger as the awful taunts were soon restored. But private lawsuits cost money and this is something my friends do not have. So Crowe and his friends, and indeed FB, can get away with all this unpleasantness.

Jon's health has never been good; he suffers from a degenerative spinal illness and arthritis and his neighbors are anti-social vermin, hosting loud parties until the early hours of the morning and they feel no inclination to stop hounding him. Facebook's unwilligness to do anything is not doing him any good. And Crowe and his pals seem to be free to do whetever they want, issue more taunts and threats safe in the knowledge that nothing will be done against them.

A few days ago, it all came to a head when Jon decided to put his side of the story on his Facebook pages, complete with evidence in the form of screengrabs. Facebook pulled the statement without comment or warning within a few hours. Jon has reposted his comments in an attempt to clear his name, and these defences have also been deleted by Facebook, again usually within hours, as have criticisms of Facebook by other members of his groups. Those who taunt Jon are allowed to get away with their vile slurs. How the hell is this fair?

The UK media haven't helped. An article in "The Sunday Telegraph" nearly two weeks ago gave the story a dismissive spin. Crowe was contacted and said his comments were a joke and that people shouldn't have been so up-tight. Privately, the reporter has said that beforehand he was worried about how Crowe would reply and conduct himself. The screengrabs that Jon provided to give evidence of Crowe's on-line behaviour were ignored by the reporter, as was the lack of Facebook support. In short, Jon was made to sound like a demented, pathetic soul and his accuser was a heroic vigilante. But say YOU were accused of being a child molester and a potential employer found it on the internet? Or say you wanted to foster a child and this came up in a routine search? Such an accusation would be utterly destructive. Having seem the screengrabs in question I can say that the original threats were in no way "a joke" or a little prank. They were serious vile accusations and incitements to violence. Of course, having been tipped off the press that the police were involved, a lot of the more horrendous items on "Fakers Frauds and other plagiaristic pariahs" and Mike/Michael Crowe's personal pages was junked, but fortunately screen captures were made in case of any future litigation.

Facebook of course, haven't commented. Well, how can they? They hide themselves behind phone numbers that go nowhere, ring out or are "dead". Email support is a joke. The only phone number that worked is the one that takes you to their sales department. It seems that it all Facebook is concerned about - squeezing money out of people. When it comes to libel and the harm their laziness and insouciance is doing, they truly don't give a damn.

Re:Another recent case (1)

NoNotTheMindProbe (2950605) | about 10 months ago | (#44012375)

A little postscript; Crowe has also taken to putting various put-downs and unnecessarily cruel comments etc. on Jon's YouTube channel, for absolutely no reason except to confirm the impression that Crowe is an internet stalker.
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