Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Libya Facebook page supporting violence against women

MISSON ACCOMPLISHED: After days of ranting and a report to the local FBI on our part Facebook has finally taken down the site that was identifying Libyan women and threatening them. The site, like a few others was developed by Gaddafi supporters. Gaddafi's thugs are taking their war of threats, murder and rape to Facebook.

If you believed that Facebook was helping Arab freedom movements this article will probably convince you otherwise.

The site names women who have stood up to the regime, and calls for them to be murdered

There is an arabic Facebook group called قائمة الخونة وعملاء الجرذان معا لفضحهم Which can be translated as a 'list exposing agents of the rats'. The list is a pro-Gaddafi group who find images of Libyan women, and one gay man we saw, who oppose who support democracy. It seems that Gaddafi's strategy of rape has been extended to Facebook.

Though the site is in Arabic its intentions are pretty obvious even without a Google Translate

This shows two very ugly things about social networks. First the ability to motivate crowds opens risks of cyber threats and potentially mob intimidation of people. But perhaps worse is that 48 hours ago we reported this site, which openly calls for violence to Facebook from the site. We also read about the site first on Twitter, among people trying to bring the site down.

Facebooks US contact phone number is 001 (650) 543 4800. They have a special line for law enforcement. If you can contact someone in law enforcement who suspects that their citizens are being targeted by this grew please have them contact the number above. Otherwise please follow this link and file a report. Use the report page link on the page to do so, Or you can contact the regional FBI at this email: san.francisco@ic.fbi.gov .about this site. The FBI has acknowledged our complaint, but nothing from Facebook and, not surprisingly, nothing from our voice message.

Hopefully more exposure will bring the site down. We strongly believe in free speech, but free speech does not include threats directed at specific people, especially based on their gender or sexual orientation.

UPDATE: It is hard to express how pissed off we are getting at Facebook right now. We are in the third day running this story and we know thousands of people have seen it from our blog alone. We also know of people working with Libyan rebels trying to get the site taken down.

And yet the site, which violates US, EU and UN law and treaty remains. Frankly the content of this site is so disturbing we would imagine an ISP could potentially face arrests for hosting such a site. It identifies women who support democracy in Bahrain, many living in the west, and subjects them to abuse and threats. Given Gaddafi's use of rape as a weapon in his own country this is a very serious issue.

When people talk about Facebook having a role in recent protest movements in the Arab world correct them: people in the Arab world used Facebook without Facebook management knowing it. Facebook itself is morally neutral at best.

The use of Facebook as a tool to add opposition to regimes can not be imagined as somehow being a part of Facebook or its goals but as a strategic appropriation of the tool that Facebook's developers never could have imagined and would almost certainly not have liked.


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