Facebook and the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) are working together to remove homophobic comments and images on a Facebook page honouring gay teens who were victims of homophobic bullying and committed suicide.
The page, named “R.I.P. ;; In memory of the recent suicides due to gay abuse, wear purple”, calls for supporters to wear purple on October 20.
“As the page quickly grew in popularity, it was flooded with messages of support for the teens and condemnation of anti-gay bullying. Unfortunately, the page also became a forum for anti-LGBT hateful speech, images and violent messages,” said GLAAD.
According to GLAAD, it reached out to Facebook after it was alerted to the images and comments and the social network responded that it would begin to monitor the page closely for violations of its terms of service.
Hateful comments posted to the page included “god hates f*gs theyre b*tches i hope they all die” and “f*ggots deserve a good old lynching.”
Over 1,800 emails were sent to GLAAD calling for Facebook to monitor the content or remove the Spirit Day page.
“We take our Statement of Rights and Responsibilities very seriously and react quickly to reports of inappropriate content and behaviour. The goal of these policies is to strike a very delicate balance between giving people the freedom to express their opinions and viewpoints–even those that may be controversial to some–and maintaining a safe and trusted environment,” said Facebook spokesman Andrew Noyes.
“In addition to responding to reports, we have automated systems that use a number of factors to flag content that might violate our policies, so we can review and take it down as quickly as possible and before it’s reported.”
GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios commented: “Our community needs to continue to be vigilant and report instances of hateful comments and images across the site to Facebook moderators as well as post messages of support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth.”