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Facebook Policies Promote Sexual Harassment

We are sharing this Facebook post by Rachel Kalisher, a friend of the Zalkin Family because it has an important message about the growth of sexual harassment in social media. Rachel was a victim of harassment on Facebook and here is her letter to Facebook complaining about their policies. Her letter is worth a read for anyone who is active on social media.

Irwin Zalkin

Dear Facebook,

This is an open letter urging you to review your sexual harassment policy.

Today it was brought to my attention that this photo of me is circulating the internet via a page called “I_have_cock_in_my_name”, which is dedicated to misogyny and sexualizing women. While I'm pretty shocked, I am also furious. Here's why. This post had been shared almost 12,000 times, and comments include gems such as “she needs to dig in a lower cut shirt” and “[women] are like elephants..just when you think they have forgiven and moved forward, that shit is thrown in your face all over again like it just happened” or even “Confuse her!!! Give her a used tampon and ask her what period it comes from.” As the person in the unsavory photo, my three options were to 1) message the poster, 2) block, or 3) unfollow the page. How are these my options? How are any of these options guaranteed to solve my problem? How does your reporting method (only letting me report a page or a post without any description) help? I felt powerless. A person who runs a page rooted in disrespecting women would not take kindly to me asking them to remove it. In any case, I followed step one- messaging the owner of the post. You know what he did? After calling me “lady” and refusing to call me by my name, he told me that sure, he'll remove the post, but in its stead would put it on a page with “100000 admins” with the intent on making it go viral. He then said, ”you should really keep your profile private” and then blocked me. That's a threat, by the way. I followed your instructions, continued to report, and yet somehow your harassment policies have STILL not been violated.

In short: these terms have to be changed. By neglecting to penalize the people who are responsible for this harassment, Facebook is encouraging this behavior. By not letting people contact you directly with supporting text, emails, or phone calls, you are giving asylum to people that have bad intentions. “I_have_cock_in_my_name” knew he would get away with it. When I said he would get kicked off of Facebook he replied, ”Never gonna happen. This picture doesn't violate any policy”. Well, I guess we found the blind spot, haven't we? As a country, this is a reminder that we have leaps and bounds to go. Equality for women, let alone women in the sciences, is a huge passion of mine, and this horribly messed up a post just makes me want to fight harder for it.

Please share this post, and let Facebook know that they need to protect their users from all forms of bullying!! Sexual harassment is a crime, including on social media.


Rachel Kalisher