It’s time once again to talk about the future of freedom of speech on social networks. Notorious SJW, Rose S Garston, is off her meds and back at it again with the white vans and page bans. For those of you who missed it the first time I wrote about Rose in a post titled The Facebook Page Wars of 2016, Rose S Garston is the pseudonym of an unknown Facebook feminist who wages war on what she deems to be “MRA pages” (Men’s Rights Activists) by mass reporting everything they post until she succeeds in getting the page unpublished.
That description might not sound very serious, but Rose (and the people whom she has likely recruited) have earned a number of high profile successes over the months, taking countless pages that had in excess of fifty or even one hundred thousand likes. Some of the pages taken down include Social Justice Warriors, Anti-Femininazi, United Anti-Feminist Coalition, Men Against Feminism, Post Tumblr Stress Disorder, A Voice For Men, Exposing Feminism, Anti-Feminism Australia, Failure of Feminism, Muh Patriarchy, Humanity vs Feminism, Math 4 Feminists, Feminism Is A Mental Disorder, Trigger Me Timbers, Trigger Warning Point Therapy, Muh Social Justice, and many, many more, these are just some of the pages I could recall from memory.
I,Hypocrite Under Attack
Which brings us back to the current month and why the I,Hypocrite page was recently taken down for just over a week, because Rose once again has me in her sights. Before I took the page down and purged all content I had posted a Cosmopolitan meme that went semi-viral, receiving over thirteen thousand shares before getting taken down by Facebook, apparently for violating the nudity clause of the terms of service.
Right after that post got taken down I told my followers about it and Rose herself showed up to gloat. A few hours after that I got another notification from Facebook that another post I had made had been reported and, while not violating the terms, was considered cruel. Ironically Facebook never told me, in this instance, which post they were referring to. Knowing I was under attack led me to the decision to unpublish the page temporarily and nuke all the content.
Now, obviously no rational person would consider that Cosmo meme to count as nudity. Furthermore, the original Cosmo post remains up, even tho I tried, as an experiment, to report it multiple times. Normally when you report something on Facebook you will get a response back within less than a day that the report was reviewed and whether or not they took down the offending post. In the case of reporting this Cosmo post however I never received a response even tho I reported it multiple times over the course of the week, as if my reports were simply getting lost in electronic limbo.
I think it’s important to try to understand what is happening here. I’m not saying that Facebook is necessarily playing favorites. It could be simply that people have already reported that post and that it has been marked as ‘acceptable’, so to speak, and so all further reports just evaporate. I’m just speculating here, but I want to at least give the benefit of the doubt before I start lobbing accusations of bias.
But of course it appears as bias when the corporate Cosmo page, with 8 million likes, gets to put up images and other pages which are critical of Cosmo’s double standard have those very same images taken down. This brings me to the real takeaway from today’s post which is that I believe there is an element of human error evident in the Facebook reporting system and it is this human error which people like Rose and her ilk are abusing to have pages unpublished, even when the owners of those pages endeavor to play by the vague and ambiguous rules set out by the community guidelines.
A Flawed System
Let me set the scene for you. Basically you got some guy named Sanjit, working in a sort of cubicle sweatshop in Kuala Lumpur or someplace like that. I don’t know, I’m a web developer not a geographist. And this guy is making like three dollars an hour to review a post every 10 seconds since Facebook, along with the other networks, has pledged to remove hate speech within 24 hours, and since they’ve been sued for failing to remove hate speech, it’s entirely possible that Sanjit has been instructed to err of the side of censorship when he’s checking reported posts, and maybe Sanjit’s command of the English language isn’t exactly what one would describe as exemplary, and so concepts like irony and satire might go over his head from time to time and so this guy is staring at screen all day looking at pictures of graphic violence and sexuality and clicking ‘approve’ or ‘deny’ over and over until his eyes bleed and so every now and then Sanjit might make a mistake and deny something that doesn’t really violate the rules.
It’s this human error that is being exploited via report bombing. You can report every single thing someone posts and if they get passed the censors then it’s no big loss for a no life having loser like Rose that is just sitting at home all day living on disability anyway, but all it takes is for that one report to land in front of a like minded ideologue having a bad day and poof, there goes the page that you’ve spent years building up, gone in a puff of smoke and you are left with no recourse, unless you’re big enough and newsworthy enough for Breitbart to report on in which case maybe they will shame Facebook into reinstating you, but for us smaller pages that’s just not going to happen.
A History of One Man Censorship Brigades
This isn’t the first time Facebook has been faced with the issue of a single individual devoting their life’s existence to censoring a group they disagree with. In the fall of 2014 Facebook had to reconsider it’s notorious ‘real name policy’ when a single individual with an axe to grind decided to report thousands of drag queen accounts that weren’t going by their legal names. Similar censorship campaigns have been undertaken by anti-vaxxers and Islamist groups. How does it feel, Rose, to know that you keep the company of bigots, zealots and conspiratards?
What’s The Solution?
Clearly Facebook needs to do better. Although they promised to review their reporting system after the real name incident, Rose’s war has made it painfully evident that the system remains open to abuse. Facebook should do more to monitor when excessive reports are coming in from the same accounts (and maybe IPs) this should get flagged in the system as suspicious activity so that someone can look at it and determine if someone is abusing the system for ideological reasons. When that’s the case those people should have their reporting privileges taken away or be banned from the platform altogether.
I recommend sending this blog post to Breitbart and Heat Street, and any other organizations that care about free speech and have the clout to get Facebook to take notice and finally doing something about this clinically insane woman and her one man war on reason.