Remembering when Everyday Sexism took on Facebook and won

Emily Shackleton
Thursday 16 April 2015 11:00
news

It's Everyday Sexism's third birthday, and campaigners have been marking the occasion by looking back at its key moments and successes.

The project now documents incidents of harassment and assault from 18 countries around the world, and founder Laura Bates has even published a book of 60,000 women's daily experiences of sexism.

It also challenges wider sexism on social media and the internet, for example through one of their successful campaigns in 2013 against Facebook content that incited rape and domestic violence.

In partnership with Women Action and the Media and US feminist Soraya Chemaly, the campaign gained the support of 60,000 people in a single week. Companies also got involved by pulling advertising from Facebook until it cracked down on offensive content.

The social media giant ended up changing their guidelines for hate speech with input from women's organisations and improved the training of their moderators.

Laura Bates calls the moment a "real turning point" for Everyday Sexism, telling i100.co.uk:

We wanted to challenge the social norms that suggested it was just banter' to post images of beaten women on Facebook with sexist jokes, or create Facebook groups that incited rape and sexual violence.

We are at the point now where we need to challenge normalised attitudes and behaviours towards women - and I hope that will be expedited by the fact that somebody trying to post an image of a woman with a black eye or a bloodied face online for 'lolz' will now receive the message from Facebook that it isn't acceptable.

Almost two years later, and the campaign is still remembered well on social media.

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