Banned From Facebook: Womens’ Rights Ukranian Civil Disobedience Group FEMEN

by Violet Blue on March 24, 2011

While no one is surprised to hear news that anyone or anything remotely human sexuality related has been banned from Facebook, it still sucks to find out that it’s still happening. A while back I posted a salute to Womens’ Rights Ukranian civil disobedience group FEMEN, which was well-received by many readers, and despite their no-porn stance, many of us became admirers. The salute post includes an interview and video, and they discuss their activist work to raise awareness around human rights issues, sex work, and sex trafficking in the Ukraine.

I wonder if anyone has a running list of legit sex-related people, businesses and organizations that have been booted and banned from Facebook. As some of you remember, the female sexuality focused Our Porn, Ourselves page was deleted (even though there was no pornography or links to pornography) after anti-porn group Porn Harms encouraged their fans to report the page for violations. They celebrated their victory after the deletion, showing just how easily Facebook – or any – ToS can be abused and how little Facebook cares about even application of its policies or those who flaunt ToS abuse.

Copyranter posted about FEMEN’s ban and boot yesterday, with a link to FEMEN’s LiveJournal page and the “see no evil” photo above. In Zuckerberg vs. Boobs, one translated line reads, “The Internet is less than coping with the role of a refuge for freethinkers and more implants bans and censorship, where they are not relevant.”

I think it’s like any corporate structure, really. They’re not ever going to give a shit about real people and meeting the actual needs of humans. Does CNN care about being accurate? Does Flickr care that I’m a paying customer when they delete my content without showing me what they’ve deleted and cripple my account without even telling me (and have done so repeatedly for the many years I’ve paid them for the pleasure)? Does Facebook care about extending equal services to… anyone? Why should they follow any rules, when they can make a quick dollar or extra pageviews?

Very fast, the internet’s services have become the things we went to the internet to get away from – self-censoring interests that only care about making a buck off of us. I think the mistake we’re making is thinking that because these big companies are online where everyone is equal, and they have done well to fool us into thinking it’s safe to put things we care about in their custodianship, that they are not going to behave in discriminatory ways toward us. Right now, there is no accountability for these companies to keep their word, and so naturally they’re going be on their worst behavior. They don’t need to bother with actually making a whole and complete business model that can be adjusted for all levels – sustainable models for long-term success – because it’s easier to just keep screwing people who don’t – yet – have a better place to go.

Fact: you will not be treated fairly or equally by Facebook, Flickr (Yahoo), Google, Apple, CNN, etc. Ever.

I’m sorry FEMEN got booted from Facebook *and* YouTube, along with all the other people I know. I hate seeing people and groups pushed to the margins of the internet, and the playing field become increasingly uneven. I hate seeing Apple keep that fucking awful anti-gay app in its store and how hard thousands of people had to work to make Apple wake the fuck up about it. No one I talk to is happy with this atmosphere. So many great and talented people here in the Bay Area and Silicon Valley are fed up with the inhumanity and corporate greed, which we all know is a symptom of a deeper problem, and they are quitting the big companies in droves – or actively preparing to.

We desperately want it to be different. But we still live in a world where progress only happens with funerals.

Violet Blue

The London Times named Violet Blue "One of the 40 bloggers who really count" and Self Magazine named TinyNibbles one of the “Best Sex Resources for Women.” Blue is an autodidact and pundit on sex and technology, hacking and security, porn for women, privacy and bleeding-edge tech culture. She is a journalist for ZDNet, CBS News, CNET; she's an educator, speaker, crisis counselor, volunteer NGO trainer, and the author and editor of over 40 award-winning books.

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{ 3 comments }

1 Anonymous March 24, 2011 at 7:35 pm

For what it’s worth, I do work for Google via a staffing company, and was recently treated to an email (excerpt below) containing policy revisions regarding flagging websites and images as being pornographic. Seems that pretty much any nudity is porn in Google’s world – I wonder, does someone doing anatomy homework have to sift through real pornography in order to get a diagram of the Human body?

“Dear Raters,

We have made changes to the porn section of the Image Utility instructions.

Previously, we may have unintentionally implied that images of bare female breasts, bare male and female genitals, and bare male and female buttocks must have clear porn intent or intent to arouse to be flagged as porn.

We have removed the “clear porn intent or intent to arouse to be flagged as porn” language.
Unless those bare body parts are pieces of art, are displayed in cultures where it is part of their everyday life to do so, etc., they should be flagged as porn.

Raters may have neglected to assign porn flags to some images that deserve them, and we are now asking you to carefully read the Porn section of the Image Utility instructions.”

2 Harold March 24, 2011 at 7:34 pm

I would turn it around: what companies _haven’t_ banned some sexuality-related people? I can think only of Twitter and a certain image site used by amateur photographers, and with their new CEO I expect Twitter to take up the banhammer. I think you’ll see similar results from any sizable organization, no matter how determined the founders. If a group wants to address a big enough market, they have to cater to the most conservative denominator or risk attack from chain e-mails and talking heads. Greed, for lack of a better word, is god, and very few can resist that religion.

3 Odysseus93 March 24, 2011 at 6:57 pm

Hey Violet.
Your right of course, but is there any place else to go? anywhere? I think I wrote about this before, in that all the good, talented, outspoken folk that want to air their views in an open forum are the very tech savvy people who could create something to which you, me, and others aspire, i.e., a fair and open forum. Facebook and the rest of the conglomerates aren’t going to give it up. It does seem to be the season for revolution all over the place, perhaps it’s time for one in social-networking land.

Was there any discussion of this st SXSW this year? Is there any plan, idea, motivation even to fight back. Just thinking and wishing…

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