The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) reached out to Facebook last week immediately after being alerted of violent images and hateful comments posted to an event page created to honor teens who recently committed suicide in response to anti-gay bullying.
The event page, R.I.P. ;; In memory of the recent suicides due to gay abuse, wear purple, calls on supporters and allies to wear purple on Wednesday, Oct. 20, to honor and remember the youths.
The popular page was soon flooded with messages of support for the teens and condemnation of anti-gay bullying. But, some postings on the page became ugly and what was intended to honor gay youth became a forum for anti-LGBT speech, images and violent messages.
Facebook was very responsive to GLAAD’s concerns and promised that the social networking site would begin to monitor the page more closely for violations of their terms of service, which include a prohibition on posting and speech used to, “bully, intimidate, or harass any user” and “posting content that is hateful [and] threatening.”
The event page, as of 9:30am Thursday, had 817, 393 RSVPs. GLAAD reports that as the number of attendees on the event page has grown over the past few weeks, so has the number of incident reports to the organization regarding the hateful speech and images posted to the page. Yesterday, Facebook informed GLAAD that new measures have been put in place to respond more quickly to hateful comments.
“Educating people about the lasting and damaging impacts of ignorant and hateful comments is a responsibility shared by parents, educators, organizations like GLAAD, and services like Facebook. We take our Statement of Rights and Responsibilities very seriously and react quickly to reports of inappropriate content and behavior. The goal of these policies is to strike a very delicate balance between giving people the freedom to express their opinions and viewpoints–even those that may be controversial to some–and maintaining a safe and trusted environment,” said Facebook spokesman Andrew Noyes, according to a post on GLAAD’s homepage.