Victory! Facebook Agrees to Combat Hate Speech Against Women

On Tuesday, after an onslaught of tweets and emails and facing a growing advertising boycott, Facebook agreed to do more to combat gender-based hate speech.

Woo! We did it! And the crowd goes wild!

In a statement, Facebook admitted that its system for identifying and removing hate speech has been less than effective, and it has pledged to take some concrete steps.

  • We will complete our review and update the guidelines that our User Operations team uses to evaluate reports of violations of our Community Standards around hate speech.  To ensure that these guidelines reflect best practices, we will solicit feedback from legal experts and others, including representatives of the women’s coalition and other groups that have historically faced discrimination.
  • We will update the training for the teams that review and evaluate reports of hateful speech or harmful content on Facebook. To ensure that our training is robust, we will work with legal experts and others, including members of the women’s coalition to identify resources or highlight areas of particular concern for inclusion in the training.
  • We will increase the accountability of the creators of content that does not qualify as actionable hate speech but is cruel or insensitive by insisting that the authors stand behind the content they create.  A few months ago we began testing a new requirement that the creator of any content containing cruel and insensitive humor include his or her authentic identity for the content to remain on Facebook.  As a result, if an individual decides to publicly share cruel and insensitive content, users can hold the author accountable and directly object to the content. We will continue to develop this policy based on the results so far, which indicate that it is helping create a better environment for Facebook users.
  • We will establish more formal and direct lines of communications with representatives of groups working in this area, including women’s groups, to assure expedited treatment of content they believe violate our standards. We have invited representatives of the women Everyday Sexism to join the less formal communication channels Facebook has previously established with other groups.
  • We will encourage the Anti-Defamation League’s Anti-Cyberhate working group and other international working groups that we currently work with on these issues to include representatives of the women’s coalition to identify how to balance considerations of free expression, to undertake research on the effect of online hate speech on the online experiences of members of groups that have historically faced discrimination in society, and to evaluate progress on our collective objectives. is a member of the coalition of women’s rights and social justice groups requesting that Facebook take action on the very real problem of gender-based hate speech, led by Laura Bates of The Everyday Sexism Project, Jaclyn Friedman of Women, Action & the Media, and activist Soraya Chemaly. In a statement, Women, Action & the Media express hope for making online spaces safe for women around the world.

We are hopeful that this moment will mark an historic transition in relation to media and women’s rights in which Facebook is acknowledged as a leader in fostering safer, genuinely inclusive online communities, setting industry precedents for others to follow.We look forward to collaborating with these communities on actions both big and small until we live in a world that’s safe and just for women and girls, and for everyone.

The campaign elicited 60,000 tweets and 5,000 emails, and 15 companies pulled their ads from Facebook. This is truly an example of what we can do when we pull together.


Image credit: Flickr


valda p.
valda p3 years ago

True some are very vulgar -and full of hatred but -some are so -easilly -offended -but we must never stop freedom of speech -if you -limit what people -say -you limit what they -think -(unknown author)---Ïf the freeddom of speech is taken away -then dumb and -silent we may be led like -sheep to the slaughter-George Washington.

Ellen Gaston
Ellen Gaston3 years ago

I don't see anything good about this. They have animal torture for fun, pro-pedophilia groups, poaching clubs, pitbull fighting, bomb-making advice, you name it. But hurting a gay person's feelings is going over the line? Seriously? How do you people expect law enforcement to find the bad guy if you shut down their ability to brag about their crimes on facebook? The PC Police shutting down free speech makes my blood run cold. The cheerleading for it terrifies me.

Jan N.
Jan N3 years ago

Failbook is a joke.

Nicole H.
Nicole L3 years ago


Paul M.
Paul M4 years ago

I hope for the day when the heading reads ...

... "Victory! Facebook Agrees to Combat Hate Speech" ...

Nichola Mac Donough
Nichola Mac D4 years ago


Sheila D.
GGmaSAway D4 years ago

I have an idea:

Why doesn't everybody use one or more of the other social sites and leave Facebook to the haters, bullies, pornographers, abusers, and extremists? Then you wouldn't have to worry about a little thing like Freedom of Speech.

Do Not all get upset sat once. Others have been trying to bring this up but they're being ignored.

I was in an abusive marriage, so do NOT say I am one of them, or that I condone what they say - but I also know you will never completely shut these kinds of people up. The best you can do is not to visit websites and to warn others about it. I am not a member in any social site - I have too many other things to do. We can protest and think we are shutting these people up. Not gonna make a dent. These people know the law and legalities down to the ink smudges on any signatures. They may go underground, but not quietly.

I am not saying that the poison being spewed about violent acts against men, women, and animals is something to be tolerated, but while we have Freedom of Speech, they will be allowed to have their say, even if it's pictures, not words.

Sorry to burst the bubble, we can slow it but not stop it. We can day...

Robert Winkelmann

"Self-righteous left-wingers screw freedom up for everyone"

Good to see there are still brainless conservative zombies wandering the planet continuing to show all the people who are not ultra-conservative hate mongers why there is no reason to ever support their party ever again. If this person was informed and knowledgeable they would know that Mark Zuckerberg is a conservative and I'm quite willing to bet a majority of the stockholders in FB are also conservatives. And ironically you're the same type of people who generally commit this type of hatred and harassment.

If you ever want someone to have any respect for the conservative party ever again you really need to stop spewing such hatred and instead of worrying about what Obama or his ilk are doing you should be spreading a message on what solutions you would prefer to see happen. And unless you forgot from back in the Bush days calling our President names during time of war (two of them in fact) is treasonous because it shows the enemy we are weak. So you should really stop doing that. Solutions, not complaints. Cooperate and negotiate - not stonewall and inhibit. Most Americans are middle of the road with a slight lean. The two parties are as far left and right as you can get. Come to the middle and get rid of the extremists. Watch this country return to full glory.

The solution is easy. And it doesn't require name calling, witch hunts or ignorance.

Scott haakon
Scott haakon4 years ago

This may not be such a good thing. Freedom of speech is too important to be curtailed by a pressure group.

Monica T.
Monica T4 years ago


At least, that is a start...