Publisher: GenderIT.org 11 June 2013
The Take action to end gender-based violence on Facebook, or #FBrape campaign, co-signed by the APC Women´s Rights Programme, triggered interesting, timely and necessary debates around freedom of expression, censorship, privacy and intermediary liability. Read the collection of GenderIT.org Feminist Talk posts that reflect some of the discussion around these hot topics.
The false paradox: freedom of expression and sexist hate speech by Margarita Salas
When we talk about freedom of expression we are within the paradigm of human rights. Human rights are indivisible, interrelated and interdependent, which means that the improvement of one right facilitates advancement of the others and the deprivation of one right adversely affects the others. This also means that they should not be hierarchized, that freedom of expression does not trump the right to live a life free of violence. It also means that there are limits to freedom of expression that are legitimate in order to strike a balance with other human rights. As a society we seem to have been able to understand this very clearly when it comes to hate speech and racism, but for some patriarchal reason the issue becomes subject of debate when we talk about hate speech and sexism. More >
#fbrape is about gender-based hate speech, not about censorship by Chat Garcia Ramilo
On May 21 more than a hundred organisations lead by Women, Action & the Media, the journalist Soraya Chemaly, and The Everyday Sexism Project started a campaign to “Take action to end gender-based violence on Facebook”. Within a week, Facebook accepted weaknesses and lapses in implementing their policies and their own community standards and committed to take steps to improve their content policy in identifying and removal of gender-based violent content on their platform. But not all advocates of freedom on expression online celebrated with us, arguing that Facebook should not be in the business of censoring content even if it is hate speech. This is not a new debate. It is a debate that feminists, who care deeply about freedom of expression, have faced around issues of misogyny and gender-based violent content. What is new is how these arguments play out online. What is crystal clear to those of us who are backing this campaign is that this is not a call to counter the right of users to free expression. The network of women’s organisations behind this action understand that internet freedoms are critical to asserting women’s rights and are staunch advocates of freedom of expression online and offline. More >
Sexist, gender-based violent speech is a norm today. Sign in, check your home page and somewhere on that or over the timeline you’ll be linked to a page or a photo which only serves to demean the existence of woman. What’s worse is finding some of your friends making jokes about it. But should that be a norm too? Finding your friends making rape and other gender-based jokes? No, it’s NOT funny! Stand up and shout out, haven’t we taken enough already? More >
Last month a coalition of women’s organisations led a campaign to hold Facebook accountable for its content policy. In particular, how it deals with hateful speech and representations of gender-based violence shared by its users. In response, freedom of expression advocates have expressed concern and criticism over the precedent set by demands for Facebook to remove hateful content from its site. This has spurred debate over gender-based hate speech, the interdependence of human rights, and the impact of sexist online culture. Debate over how to balance freedom of expression with the right to protection from incitement to discrimination is constantly being reframed in the context of new technologies and political realities. Despite this ongoing debate, there is clear space for agreement on the need for transparency and accountability in how Facebook and other internet intermediaries deal with abusive content, and takedown requests. This point has been made by advocates from a variety of backgrounds, including the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression. More >
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