Gay-rights group GLAAD set up a Facebook page to honor the memory of Tyler Celmenti and other victims of anti-gay bullying — and the page was promptly attacked by legions of anti-gay bullies. Now Facebook is helping fight the bigotry.
The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD)'s memorial page called on people to wear purple in honor of Clementi and five other gay males who recently committed suicide. The page drew commitments from 100,000 Facebook users its first week, and 700,000 on its second. But as the page's popularity mounted, so did the flood of anti-gay comments, including "god hates f*gs theyre b*tches i hope they all die" and "f*ggots deserve a good old lynching."
Anti-gay hate on Facebook, in other words, was mirroring anti-gay hate out in the physical world. That's probably inevitable on a social network with more than half a billion members. But the internet drastically lowers the cost of spewing vitriol — slurring someone anonymously on a "Wall" is easier and way less risky than yelling at someone in public. And on the GLAAD page, the problem grew so pronounced and persistent that GLAAD asked for Facebook to intervene.
Which the social network, to its credit, has done, putting in place unspecified "new measures" to combat hate speech, according to a GLAAD post entitled "GLAAD and Facebook Work Together to Remove Hateful Comments."
DC-based Facebook spokesman Andrew Noyes is quoted in the post saying the social network believes it has a responsibility to "educat[e] people about the lasting and damaging impacts of ignorant and hateful comments."
Sadly, even the combined diligence of GLAAD and Facebook doesn't stop some idiotic comments from getting through:
Maybe Sarah Palin would be willing to land GLAAD some crack troops from her vigilant army of Facebook moderators. We'd suggest you hold your breath in anticipation of that, GLAAD, but that would actually be a pretty hateful suggestion.
[Image via Getty]