The third most visited website (after Google and Youtube). Social media site to over one billion people worldwide. Inadequately protects transgender and non-binary people. I am, of course, talking about Facebook.
Facebook is a social media website, created by Mark Zuckerberg in 2004. Its popularity spans the entire globe and encourages connections between people otherwise unable to connect. But there is a darker side to Facebook that the majority of the public does not witness. Within this community, however, I know that most of us are witness to the hostile environment that Facebook – and other social media outlets – are struggling to extinguish.
In a recent announcement, it was introduced that Facebook was ‘cracking down’ on white supremacist groups and content on the Facebook platform. This is a step in the right direction for racial equality, obviously. I believe that this announcement has arisen due to recent backlash faced by Facebook regarding its policing of these groups. After the attack in New Zealand, and other race-based attacks, Facebook has found itself in the midst of a war against white nationalist terror. But it is impossible to eradicate this type of content and hate speech in general.
Facebook already bans hate speech, as well as nudity, drug abuse, excessive violence and threats against an individual or group. Well, it tries to anyway. This platform, as well as many others, relies on its users to report inappropriate content. Due to the volume of content on Facebook, it would be impossible to track down all the posts and groups that should not be there without this system. I know that I am an avid reporter of content. In a small way, I think it is helpful. I know that there is no larger impact caused by having posts removed, but if I can ensure that no one else is targeted by or even stumbles across this post, then I feel I have contributed positively to someone’s day.
I have noticed a particular pattern though. Whenever I report a post for racism or even homophobia – it is removed. But not a single post that I have ever reported for transphobia has ever been taken down. Neither has any post that targets non-binary people. It is my belief that Facebook has to do more to protect its trans/n-b users. Surely these posts fall under harassment or hate speech? Surely they target a specific group or individual? But Facebook does not want them gone, for some reason. I have noticed this on other platforms, namely Instagram, but the vast majority of transphobia that I come across is on Facebook.
Why doesn’t Facebook remove these posts? Is it simply bad timing on my part, and the posts I report just fall through the cracks? Comment below and tell me your experiences with unrestricted transphobia online – and what you think should be done about it.