Facebook censorship on women’s reproductive rights


Kim Phuc just after the bombing, photo by Nick Ut

In September 2016, Facebook censored this famous 1972 photo, of Vietnamese children burnt by napalm bombing, including Kim Phuc, then a 9-year-old badly injured girl.

Facebook deleted the photo from, eg, the Facebook page of Norwegian conservative Prime Minister Ms Erna Solberg.

Now, more Facebook antics.

By Jon Queally in the USA:

May 12, 2017

Access Denied: Facebook Blocks Abortion Pill Provider’s Page for ‘Promotion of Drug Use’

‘WTF Facebook?!’ say supporters of international group that provides reproductive health information and access to abortion pills in countries where it remains illegal

As of late Thursday night, Facebook has yet to explain why it has blocked the page of a women’s health organization that provides abortion counseling and drug access to thousands of women across the globe each day. And reproductive rights advocates from around the world are not happy about it.

News that the Facebook page operated by Women on Web, which runs a global help desk for women seeking information on ending pregnancies safely and provides access to abortion pills, was first reported by its sister organization, Women on Waves, which operates a boat that travels the world providing medical care, including abortions, in places where access to such services for women is limited, highly restricted, or banned outright.

As their Facebook page remained active, Women on Waves on Thursday morning posted a message—alongside a screenshot of the notice received from Facebook which said the page had violated terms of service—to alert people to what had happened.

“Dear all,” the post reads, “our sister organization @WomenOnWeb.IF has been unpublished by Facebook under the accusation of ‘encouragement of drug use.'”

Defending its partner, the post described how the group, which is based in Amsterdam, “provides life-saving information to thousands of women worldwide” and that its page on Facebook “publishes news, scientific information and the protocols of the World Health Organization and Women on Web has answered over half a million emails with women who needed scientific, accurate information essential for their health and life.”

Supporters of the groups who commented on the post were outraged. “What the hell?” said one in reaction. Someone else added, “WTF Facebook?!”

Another suggested it was part of a larger and more troubling trend. “I’ve seen a lot of this lately,” the person wrote. “Extreme conservatives using loopholes in the fb algorithm processes to bully various pages and groups.”

Women on Web subsequently posted this message to its Twitter account:

‘Our FB page has been unpublished under the accusation of “encouraging drug use”. WoW is a reliable source of life-saving info to thousands.’

The Independent, which first reported the story, said that a Facebook spokesperson was “investigating the incident.” Later reporting by the Guardian said the social media giant did not immediately respond to its request for comment, nor was response given to requests submitted for this article.

As of this writing, the group’s Facebook page remains unavailable …

It still was at the time of making this blog post.

As the Guardian reports, this is not the first time that Women on Web has had problems with Facebook:

In January 2012, Facebook deleted the profile photograph of the group’s founder and director, Dr Rebecca Gomperts. The image contained instructions for inducing an abortion using Misoprostol. Gomperts was locked out of her account for two days after re-posting the image, but Facebook subsequently apologized and reinstated both the image and her account.

Thursday’s incident comes amid increased worries that large social media and web platforms—which have come to dominate the way digital content is shared and monetized on the web—are having an outsized and unaccountable role in how information is managed and controlled by private, for-profit corporations.

On Wednesday, Facebook announced new protocols regarding how it plans to deal with what it deems “low-quality web page experiences.” And while all people might agree they want to see less “low-quality” material or information on the web, serious concerns about censorship and bias quickly emerge when discussion moves towards what gets classified as “low-quality” and, perhaps more importantly, who gets to decide what meets that definition.

For its part, Women on Waves said it believed Facebook would rectify the situation with its sister organization before long.

“We expect Facebook will undue this action soon enough,” the group said in its post, “as access to information is a human right.”

Meanwhile on Twitter, users of one social media platform were condemning the behavior of another platform as they demanded Facebook reinstate the Women on Web page immediately.

Facebook violates privacy, Dutch privacy watchdog says: here.

Trump has dramatically expanded the “global gag rule” on abortion.

Demonstration against Trump, NATO militarism, Brussels, 24 May


Demonstration against Trump, NATO militarism, Brussels, Belgium, 24 May 2017

From the Trump not Welcome site in Belgium:

Protest March

Trump not Welcome

24 May 5 PM – Brussels North Station

At the end of May, Donald Trump, president of the United States, comes to Belgium to attend the NATO summit. These past months, Trump caused outrage all over the world: dividing and excluding people, denying climate change, intimidating the media, phasing out solidarity, …

We stand united in saying ‘No!’ to Trump, his policy and his European counterparts. Join us at the protest march Wednesday 24 May at 5 PM in Brussels:

For social rights

We stand up for the interests of the 99% and against the worldwide policies of cutbacks, the degradation of social rights and the weakening of the position of the working class.

Against sexism, racism & discrimination

Rights acquired a long time ago are threatened. We oppose any form of discrimination and stand up for a humane policy for refugees.

For peace

For peace and against all military interventions that violate international laws. Against all military investments at the expense of education, health care, climate and international solidarity.

For a liveable world

We demand an ambitious and socially just climate policy for a sustainable future.

Let your voice be heard and show them that we’re united for a democratic, peaceful, sustainable and socially just future. United we stand!

Practical

5 PM gathering at Brussels Nord & speeches with Standing Rock activists

6 PM Protest march

8 PM Concert with Jaune Toujours and Orchestre International du Vetex

Route

Meeting point Railway Station Brussels North at 5 PM

Brussels demonstration route

What to bring

Together with the Women’s March, the pink pussy hat became the symbol of resistance against Trump. We would like to see pussy hats in all shapes and colours to show our resistance against Trump. On www.pussyhatproject.com you’ll find a lot of inspiration!

Racism against African American women


This video about Washington D.C. in the USA says about itself:

6 May 2017

Students at American University have been targeted with racist messages. Brett Erlich, Hannah Cranston, and Kim Horcher, the hosts of The Young Turks, break it down.

“Students and officials at American University continued to respond this week to a racially charged incident on the college’s campus in which bananas were found hanging from strings “in the shape of nooses,” according to the school.

“I regret this happened, apologize to everyone offended, and state emphatically that this incident does not reflect what American University truly is,” AU President Neil Kerwin said in a memo sent Monday evening.

Kerwin called the incident a “cowardly, despicable act.”

“Know that American University remains committed to principles of diversity, inclusion, common courtesy, and human dignity, and acts of bigotry only strengthen our resolve,” the memo stated. “Anyone who does not feel similarly does not belong here.”

Read more here.

Saudi Arabia in UN women’s rights commission


This 16 January 2017 CNN video from the USA says about itself:

The Saudi women afraid to go home

16 January 2017

These women left Saudi Arabia and say they could be arrested, even beheaded, if they were to return. Here are their stories.

By Mallory Shelbourne in the USA – 04/23/17 04:58 PM EDT:

Saudi Arabia elected to UN women’s rights commission

Saudi Arabia was elected to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.

The addition of the Gulf nation was first flagged by UN Watch, a nongovernmental body that monitors the United Nations. The Commission on the Status of Women’s main mission is to assess the challenges to reaching gender inequality [sic; equality], according to the U.N. website.

The organization’s executive director slammed the election, which occurred in a secret vote during the U.N.’s Economic and Social Council.

“Electing Saudi Arabia to protect women’s rights is like making an arsonist into the town fire chief,” Hillel Neuer said.

Neuer called the election “absurd,” noting that all women in Saudi Arabia “must have a male guardian who makes all critical decisions on her behalf, controlling a woman’s life from her birth until death. Saudi Arabia also bans women from driving cars.”

Saudi Arabia, a top U.S. ally, is also on the U.N. Human Rights Council.

Saudi Arabia is on the U.N. Human Rights Council, because their top allies, the United States administration (then the Obama administration) and the British Conservative government (then the Cameron government) helped them to get in. No doubt, the new Trump Republican administration, basing itself on President Trump’s maxim: Grab them by the pussy, and the new British Conservative Theresa May administration, basing itself on May‘s maxim: The Saudi rulers buy lots of British weapons for their war on Yemen, similarly helped the misogynistic Saudi absolute monarchy get into the women’s rights commission.

From UN Watch:

Saudi women feel betrayed by the UN. “I wish I could find the words to express how I feel right know. I’m ‘Saudi’ and this feels like betrayal,”tweeted a self-described Saudi woman pursuing a doctorate in international human rights law in Australia.”

“Today the UN sent a message that women’s rights can be sold out for petro-dollars and politics,” said Neuer, “and it let down millions of female victims worldwide who look to the world body for protection.”

Government of NATO country Belgium helped Saudi Arabia get into women’s rights commission: here.

Women Beware: Saudi Arabia to Help Shape Global Standards for Female Equality. Posted on May 3, 2017. By Medea Benjamin.