Are jokes about men ‘hate speech’? Facebook seems to think so

Article here. Excerpt:

'In October, Marcia Belsky received a 30-day Facebook ban for three words: “Men are scum.”

She had posted the sentence without a second thought. It was buried in the comment section of a friend’s photo album showing all the messages she’d received from men in the wake of #MeToo. Belsky’s friend, writer Nicole Silverberg, had written a list of things men can do better and, unsurprisingly, many men did not like that. Their comments were angry, chastising, and some were even anti-Semitic and violent.

Belsky was baffled. Could language as tame as “men are scum” really be construed as hate speech when so much of what she saw on Facebook—threats of rape and violence, profanity, and harassment—seemed so much worse?

According to Facebook’s community guidelines, yes. The guidelines protect groups based on gender, ethnicity, and religion. And those benefits extend to the group “men.” So, unfair as it may seem, any blanket statement about men could potentially qualify as hate speech.

This wasn’t Belsky’s first ban from Facebook, either. The New York-based comedian had previously posted what she thought was a humorous photo. It featured her younger self smiling innocently, with the words “Kill All Men” photoshopped into a cartoon speech bubble beside her cherubic face.

Fellow comedian Kayla Avery has been banned from Facebook five times. The offenses that got her banned and censored vary from calling men “trash” to “useless” to “the worst.” Avery is so accustomed to being censored and banned that she has a name for it: Facebook Jail. She is currently working on a project documenting the stories of those who’ve been Facebook Jailed.
Then in April, Waithe posted an image that had been going around of men holding shotguns next to their daughters and their prom dates. She shared it with the caption, “Men know that other men are trash which is why these types of photos are popular.” She received another 30-day ban. Initially, she thought it was because of the guns in the image. She says it was only later when she heard about Belsky’s “men are scum” ban that she made the connection.'

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