Facebook Will Ignore Your Bully, Then Ban You

Edited to add: I've now been blocked from sending private messages. Facebook meanwhile has not responded to numerous complaints and reports.

Edited to add: this person is STILL being allowed to harass me via Facebook, while anything I have written about it has been flagged and I've been banned whether I name her or not. I am also not allowed to BLOCK her. Despite the fact this is against their TOS, they are actively enabling these attacks and preventing me from helping others not be stalked/abused, as seen below.

I also just received these email, proving that this is a targeted attack:

I need your help! Please send complaints, post on FB about this, tweet about it, write blogs. My profile is facebook.com/kittystryker.

I'm told sometimes that I'm "popular", especially in the Bay Area Queer Pornosphere. And I guess on some level it's true: people typically know who I am when I go out, though I've never been asked to sign anything randomly. I'm glad, actually, because I'm not sure I could handle that kind of thing. I'm already somewhat shy and anxious!

But there's more to being a nanoceleb or whatever than just people wanting to hug you and talk to you when you go to a bar. There's a darker side, where you get rape threats, death threats, harassment, and other unsavory and scary interactions... particularly if you're a woman. What's worse is that, if this harassment happens on Facebook (and I've written a bit about them before), they will in all likelihood ignore it and, if you speak out about it, they may very well ban you, instead. And here I thought not naming abusers was for Fetlife. This started a couple of weeks ago. I mean I guess it started with other people long before me, as photos were being reported in long streams that were perfectly acceptable according to the TOS. Considering these reports were sometimes friends only, and always centered around queer porn performers, we suspected that there might be someone who we had invited into our Facebook communities who was then harassing us. I got hit several times over a couple of weeks, including text posts:

This is from April 8th to now, to give you context.

So I began to cut down my friends lists to people I actually spent time with and knew, rather than anyone who sent a request. One of the people I culled was a local porn performer who goes by Bianca Khan or Brittany Bendz, as we had never met in meatspace. And that's where things got weird, the first time: I mean it's already weird when someone unfriends you to say things like "why do you all hate me" like this was a group decision, and then to question it. Anyway, I figured that was that and kept going about my business, not thinking too much about it. Until a bunch of my friends started also worrying about having their profiles removed for constant reports. You see, Facebook has sometimes restricted access to an account, or even removed them, because of reports... whether or not the reports are substantiated. And the posts that get reported are often completely random, so it's not like you can prevent it. UNLESS someone does the legwork and starts to trace who connects these people together. In this case, Bianca Khan was a mutual and shared friend between many of these folks, as were another couple of people. I formed a list and asked people to keep me informed around what got reported so I could narrow it down further. After posting that I had some ideas who the reporter might be (and as of this point having not blocked anyone yet), I then received this lovely exchange: I responded calmly and politely, but firmly, as I've learned to be with this kind of behaviour. I don't bully well, or intimidate well, so when someone tries to work me up I tend to fact check and stay logical. I shared it all with my partner, and he was as confused as I was, having never met her before. I think his response was "saying my moustache is ridiculous is the most insulting part!" After getting these weirdly abusive and threatening emails  from Bianca,  and knowing that she had been similarly abusive to others in my community, I posted about it on Facebook. I'm a big fan of being transparent, and addressing abuse by laying it out on the table for the community to decide. I rarely name names publicly, but when I do, it's because of repeated offenses and because the "accepted" course of action (reporting abusive behaviour to the Powers That Be) has failed to have any result. I had sent multiple emails to Facebook via their "report" feature and gotten no response from them, so I figured it was time to say something about it. I reviewed the TOS: I figured that if Bianca's behaviour (which included endless friend requests, messages, and then threats, reporting, and stalking off Facebook) didn't violate the TOS, this post wouldn't either. I got a ton of responses from people who had had similar interactions with her, thanking me for confirming their suspicions and saying how sorry they were that I was on the receiving end of such vitriol. I was banned for 3 days from posting on Facebook, because of "community standards". The same community standards that were completely ignored when I was being targeted and harassed get cited as a reason to remove me... while Bianca is left to continue the behaviour with no consequences from Facebook. Facebook has never been particularly good at dealing with abusive people. I know a friend of mine has been repeatedly targeted by the BNP, and she has been banned when she fights back, not them. I know Facebook has allowed many cases of bullying to continue untouched, leading to multiple student suicides. Their official recommended course of action is here, but when that course leads to no response, or worse, penalizing the victim? It's ineffective, and far too often counterproductive. I'm an adult, so all this does is irritate me and make me determined to call out the system that enables abuse, but this is also a major issue among teenagers using the site:

"Carbonella followed Facebook’s procedure for filing a report, clicking through the screens that allow you to complain to the site about content that you think violates a rule. He clicked the bubbles to report bullying and fake identity. And then he waited. And waited. “It felt like putting a note in a bottle and throwing it into the ocean,” Carbonella said. “There was no way to know if anyone was out there on the other end. For me, this wasn’t a situation where I knew which student was involved and could easily give it to a school guidance counselor. It was completely anonymous, so we really needed Facebook to intervene.” But, to Carbonella’s frustration, Let’s Start Drama stayed up. He filed another report. Like the first one, it seemed to sink to the bottom of the ocean." - How to Stop the Bullies, the Atlantic

Facebook needs to decide whether they're going to take bullying seriously, or not. Either they support "freedom of speech", or they are anti-abuse and need to act as such across the board. I'm privileged - I can defend myself, and I have other platforms to speak out if Facebook silences me. But not everyone does, and a particularly determined bully can have a devastating impact. As a teen, online bullying can lead to making your every waking moment at school a living hell. As an adult, it can mean being outed, it can mean having your networking connections lost by having your account shut down, it can mean real life stalking. Decide who you want to defend, Facebook. "Choosing not to choose" is a choice, and all to often, it means you've chosen the abuser. Feel free to signal boost this post (including on Facebook!) or to tweet @Facebook to let them know your thoughts.

Categories: abuse, activism, angry, censorship, community, fuck you facebook, hypocrisy, oh ffs, why I do what I do

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