Facebook Isn’t Protecting Marginalized Communities

Here’s how it usually goes.

Autistic advocate posts about something important to them as an advocate or that affects the Autistic Community as a whole. This is social media advocacy, getting the voice of the community out there when others who are not even Autistic have held the narrative about autism for decades.

Non-Autistics who have held onto the narrative for so long take issue with the narrative they’ve created being challenged and in turn try to silence Autistic advocates in any way they can.

Some will argue directly on the original post. More will take screenshots and share on their own platforms, in public pages and in groups they manage. They’ll add their own commentary, usually lies about the Autistic advocate who originally posted in order to try and discredit them and convince people that their voice is not worthy. Often this includes actual cyberbullying behaviors and attacks on any and all social media accounts the Autistic individual has.

The Autistic advocate will attempt to report these posts and comments but rarely does Facebook find anything that violates their “community standards” in a way that will warrant removing the non-Autistic person’s post, even when individuals are being doxxed and abusive, hateful, ableist language being used.

So then occasionally, an Autistic advocate will have had enough of nothing being done, and they’ll use their own platform to post screenshots of the abuse they’re receiving, to at least get some moral support from their community, and so that others can see proof of what kind of abuse they’re going through.

The non-Autistic people trolling the Autistic advocate will see this, get mad, and report the posts as harassment using the same method the Autistic advocate did when this whole thing started. Except this time for some reason Facebook decides that this particular batch of screenshots that document actual cyberbullying are a true violation of their “community standards” which warrant a deletion of the Autistic advocate’s post and sometimes even a suspension of their ability to post and comment at all.

It’s almost like Facebook is applying their standards arbitrarily in a manner that gives preference to privileged groups over the marginalized communities in a way that causes further marginalization.

It isn’t just Autistic advocates that this is happening to. I’ve seen it especially rampant in trans advocacy as well as with LGBTQIA+ folks across the board. BIPOC communities are affected at alarming rates, from what I’ve heard and read.

I, as a white person, had the comment “man, white people will buy anything won’t we?” removed by Facebook as *hate speech*. A JOKE comment on a post about some obvious woo crappery. But yet actual racists post some of the most vile and disgusting content I’ve ever seen about BIPOC communities and my reports on those go nowhere.

Someone can misgender and dead name trans and nonbinary folks until the cows come home and Facebook won’t do crap about that harassment, but the instant a trans or nonbinary person puts up a screenshot with “hey this is messed up and hurtful and it needs to stop,” THAT will be flagged as harassment and taken down, sometimes even when names are redacted.

It is absolutely unconscionable for Facebook to continue in this manner. They have got to find a way to protect marginalized communities who are using their platform. They simply cannot allow themselves to be part of the problem rather than part of the solution.

I had a whole thing planned but my brain isn’t letting me process much more right now.


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