The Radical Center
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The Radical Center

Facebook enables bullies and bigots to attack LGBT people.

Facebook is facing awful publicity regarding how it was used to collect information to help Russian hackers undermine the last election. They are apologizing for their blindness but still Facebook actively cooperates with bigots and others wishing to harass individuals or groups they hate.

If you or your organizations use Facebook you know harassment can be riff. Not just trolls harass, but bigots and individuals who hate you and your groups may use Facebook to harass you. The bad news is Facebook will often actively help them do it while ignoring your pleas for assistance.

Our non-profit promotes equality of rights for all individuals. We focus on LGBT rights and those of immigrants most of all.

Over the past year alt-Right types have systematically attacked the page and Facebook never helped us when we reported it.

In one concerted attack hundreds hateful messages were left on our page over a period of a week. We reported the hive attack and Facebook ignored the report, did nothing, and never even responded.

It took a week to block all the harassers from our page.

Recently someone attacked our main page and we did what Facebook recommends — we blocked him from the page. He then created 30+ fake identities and started posting negative reviews of our organization, one right after the other for a period of a couple of hours. Finally we turned off the “review” page due to the harassment.

He and his fake identities were reported to Facebook. Then he reported every one of our pages, including my personal page, and claimed I was spamming my own pages as well as “harassing” him. Facebook blocked all the accounts for week — both personal pages and those belonging to the non-profit.

Sure, Facebook says you can contest it, but they don’t bother to read appeals from what I can see. There are ways of reporting pages that get Facebook to instantly close the page without any human checking to see if the accusations are true. I once had my page shut down for a photo of two eyes. Just eyes — nothing else — it was reported as nudity and Facebook took it at “face value” if you pardon the pun.

Shortly after the pages were shut down I realized my account had been stolen. It was hacked and transferred to someone else — I suspect to the individual doing the harassing. I had to scan ID and send it in to get the account back but I was still blocked from using it. I repeatedly asked Facebook for help to unblock the account and was ignored each time.

In this case, I tried to open up a secondary account under my initials and surname and discovered the harasser had already done that. I reported they were pretending to be me and the page was removed but Facebook still left our block intact.

By now Facebook had removed multiple fake accounts the person used, they reversed his stealing my password and they deleted the account where he pretended to be me. But still they acted as if his fake reports were true and kept the ban in place. Apparently no matter how much he harassed us Facebook believed his initial fake report and keep blocking us on his behalf — in other words they were enabling his bullying.

The week goes by and the block is finally lifted and we post on the pages. We posted some stories from the press about how immigrants help economic growth. We posted an article about an attack on a gay couple in Florida after the Pride Parade. In other words normal material showing people how hate is still alive and well and why this hate is invalid.

So, what happens? Facebook informs us the mysterious harasser has filed another complaint we violated “community standards” and all our pages are blocked for 30 days. What was the violation? It was an old news story from months ago about a same-sex couple being harassed by bigots who vandalized their home.

Obviously we are not promoting harassment or hate, we are reporting on hate crimes against LGBT people and immigrants. Some people don’t like that. Facebook cooperates with the bigots to harass the victims, but it ignores the victims.

It is all set up electronically. The bigot files just the right false report and Facebook automatically acts. These bigots tell one another how to do it. Meanwhile their victims are left floundering and Facebook IGNORES their users and their appeals for help.

Facebook actively helps bigots harass LGBT groups. Yes, there are still bullies on the playground. Many LGBT people will remember how awful that was and how, so often, teachers and staff sided with the bullies. That’s what Facebook is doing today. That Facebook allowed Russian hackers to use them is getting all the attention, but minority groups and other victims of hate movements are regularly attacked and harassed on Facebook and the tech giant is almost always enabling the bullies while ignoring the victims.




A blog for the Moorfield Storey Institute: a liberaltarian think tank.

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James Peron

James Peron

James Peron is the president of the Moorfield Storey Institute, was the founding editor of Esteem a LGBT publication in South Africa under apartheid.

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