*WARNING!! This blog post contains a graphic image of violence and racism which is likely to be upsetting to see. But I have had to include it for the integrity of the piece.
Today I have been very ill, struck down with a serious bout of vomiting that has left me incredibly dehydrated and flaring in every sense of the word. Writing a blog post was hands down THE last thing I thought I would be doing tonight. But sometimes, life has other ideas..
Recently I’ve been paying a lot of attention to the goings on in America. As someone who has a lot of American, and Jewish, friends it’s a subject I feel to be of great importance. To be honest, even if I knew nobody from the US I’d still feel the same. Why? Because in this day of social media, internet stardom and cameras recording everything, no one country stands alone anymore. Everything that happens in America filters across to us in Europe. It affects us. It influences us.
If people in America are able to get away with racism and hate speech, then suddenly it becomes ok in the eyes of our children. It is my belief, that thanks to the vast and intricate social network we’ve created, that all the ugliness spilling out onto the streets of America will soon be occurring here in the UK.
A huge part of that social network is Facebook. I defy anyone in the modern world not to have at least heard of Facebook. Even my elderly Father knows about it, whilst not partaking himself. Mark Zuckerberg has become one of the richest and most powerful men in the world, all because of his premise of bringing people closer. But with that power comes responsibility. A responsibility to ensure that people aren’t using Facebook to promote hate and violence. In particular I’m referring to racial violence.
That’s where the community standards came about…
This brings me to the main point of my blog. Now, I consider myself as a fairly open minded type of gal. My ethos is very much ‘live and let live’. As such, it takes a lot for me to report something to Facebook for a review.
But today, I saw something which prompted me to do just that. The image was posted in a group where videos of spots being popped are shared. (Yes I’m one of THOSE people). It graphically shows a white Neo Nazi (complete with swastika emblazoned on his chest) about to violently stomp on the head of a black person. Possibly a child. Along with this is the words ‘You’ve been popping blackheads all wrong’ and laughing emojis. It truly is a violent and disgusting image, and I’m only sharing it now to prove I’m not making this up.
Obviously I was shocked and appalled. So I immediately reported the image to Facebook, rather than commenting and giving the original poster the attention they had hoped for. Then I tried to put this putrid piece of diatribe out of my mind as I spent the remainder of the evening drifting in and out of sleep and attempting not to vomit.
Some hours later I received the notification that my report had been reviewed. Intrigued I clicked on the banner…
‘It (the picture) doesn’t go against any of our community standards’. Seriously??!! How doesn’t it??!! Have I read the wrong ones?? Clearly this image is glorifying violence, racist violence. That’s a direct violation of not one but TWO Facebook community standards!!
Now, I could have taken the easy option and simply blocked the original poster, as Facebook so kindly suggests. But what will that achieve? How will that help the situation?? By standing by and doing nothing we make these actions acceptable. Now is the time to take each and every opportunity we have to stand up and say NO! This new world full of hatred we live in is not ‘just one of those things’. These posts are not just ‘harmless talk’. THIS IS NOT OK!!
So, in response to the lack of action from Facebook I chose to write this blog. I chose to push myself to use whatever voice I have online, and shout from the rooftops. I shout to you Mark Zuckerberg! I ask you, what is the point in having community standards if they are not upheld? What kind of world do you want your children to grow up in?? And just who is checking these standards???
I know for a fact that the people employed to check these reports do not have to submit anything more than what you would for a general job position. My source tells me that you don’t have to give any kind of background check whatsoever. So, what’s to stop the people ‘policing’ Facebook allowing it to become a racist and hateful place?? Nothing it seems.
I will not stand back and watch as these images cross my path, doing nothing to try to change things. To ignore the situation our whole world, not just America, is in right now is to be as bad as those perpetuating things. So Mark Zuckerberg, if you see this… what are you going to do about it???