Nameless Coalition, a group of NGOs, has written an open letter to Facebook demanding justice for individuals who have been affected by it’s ‘authentic identity’ policy. Please read it at the Electronics Frontier Foundation Action Centre.Those interested in supporting this effort are requested to sign the petition.
In Kerala, the abuse of women online became a hotly-discussed issue over the heavy online abuse suffered by Preetha G P, which provoked a wider debate on FB policy and strong responses in support of Preetha from other women politically active on FB. The campaign For A Better FB was initiated by them.
I add below reflections by Anila Balakrishnan expressed on FB, on her support for the campaign. They have been translated from the Malayalam and posted here with her permission:
Facebook has never given me the feeling that it is a space where I can behave and speak out my views freely. On the contrary, it has always reminded me that I am a woman and must therefore tread carefully. That is the reason why I decided to reduce myself into someone who had nothing to say in public, someone who spoke only in the presence of friends. I just decided that I will not sacrifice my peace for the misogyny and hate-speech of the hordes who know nothing of me or my politics; I was not willing to spend time and energy on confronting them. When my posts became public because of sheer necessity or even by mistake, these hordes reminded me quickly that they should be confined to friends alone. Those were not ideological confrontations; they were vicious attacks the female gender itself. And so I have not felt brave enough to say anything that could invite public comment on FB. Women who have showed the courage to say such things have not been spared by the hordes, for sure.
But this was never my choice. I do believe that opinions ought to be public; that one must engage with each and every person in the crowd. But I am not willing to take on myself from the social media personal wounds that go beyond differences and diversity in views . So the decision to reduce myself is not my choice – it was imposed on me. I have not heard of any man who makes his views public being abused because of his body. I do not know of any man who has to maintain constant vigilance against such attacks. That’s how Facebook remains as patriarchal as any other social media, as society itself. And that’s precisely why I am part of this campaign for a better FB.