I don't necessarily agree that Facebook should be the responsible party. That really should fall under society and parents/children. A company isn't going to be able to enforce politeness or dissuade bullies from bullying. This is another aspect of the human condition. And if it is one we as a society of humans want to change, we need to do that. Facebook isn't the responsible party here in my humble opinion.
You're suggesting a slippery slope where there is none. The authenticity of bullying is easy to verify because there is at least one party able to testify to its undesiredness. We're not talking about policing morality, we're talking about behavior that, in the vast majority of cases, is quite unambiguous.
> "That really should fall under society and parents/children"
There's a false dichotomy here. While we can expect and hope that people are self-policing of their children and peers, there is room for additional governance. Why can't we have both? After all, if you ran a convenience store and noticed that bullies were beating up kids outside and using their lunch money to buy goods at your business, why wouldn't it fall upon you, where it occurs, to stop the behavior?
Nobody says Facebook has to become the grand authority on cyberbullying, but it is within their capability - and IMO there is at least a slight tinge of moral responsibility - to put a substantial dent in the problem.
And that one party ought to be able to unilaterally force me to take down content?
I understand that this is ok if I'm making a facebook page mocking a 13 year old girl, but what if I'm making a site that parodies a company, or a CEO, or a politician, or Justin Bieber?
This slope is indeed slippery as all fuck.
I do not believe our basic treatment of children should change just because they're famous. Fame is, after all, not a cure for bullying.
My worry with holding Facebook responsible or culpable for the actions of its users in this specific regard is that we're creating and or granting a degree of control over interation to Facebook. I don't understand why now, with Facebook, we decide this needs action. The same stuff went on before computers, all Facebook is doing is making this visible to a wider population.
I'm not trying to say Facebook should do nothing. By all means they should just as that convenience store owner report the matter to the proper authorities. Our justice systems are a much better way to punish offenders than a for profit corporation. They may not be perfect but I do not trust Facebook or any corporation to deal with this in a decent way.
The underlying problem here however is society and its views on sex for women. That and how men act and treat women in general. Both of those should be at the top of our list to fix and equalize.
Who are the proper authorities? The legal/justice system is not meant to be a first-line against all disputes and problems. There's a reason that if your neighbor puts up an offensive sign on his lawn, you try to resolve it yourself before involving the city.
> "They may not be perfect but I do not trust Facebook or any corporation to deal with this in a decent way."
As someone who grew up under (probably not as bad as most others) bullying: hogwash. Facebook is a valid party to deal with this behavior.
Who would deal with this? The police don't give a shit. School administrators have had decades of teen suicides and school shootings to deal with it, but all they have done is further marginalize the bullied, giving them less recourse than they ever had before.
The default "proper authorities" have abdicated their responsibility and proven more than amply that they are either too incompetent or too apathetic to do anything about it. Sadly, the onus does fall upon private parties, and Facebook is one of them.
I for one resist the notion that we should bureaucratize very basic (and very old) human behavior. Just as the shop owner would just go outside and break up the bullies, so should Facebook break up this behavior, referring to the police only in exceptional cases.
> "The underlying problem here however is society and its views on sex for women."
I don't think this is it. Children, both male and female, are bullied harshly for a myriad of reasons, sex being only a large one of many. The core issue is bullying, not bullying re: sex.
Facebook have banned images of breastfeeding mothers. Facebook have shown they are happy to police their morality and ethics. Asking them to have some kind of anti-bullying clause, and report button, (which, I think, they have) isn't too much.
You're right the the responsibility is not Facebook's. But they could do a bit more to help.
This is a photo that was drawing hundreds of likes and "shaming" comments.
Looking at the link you provide, the journalist took the Facebook suggested course of action, and Facebook actively failed to stop the abuse.
I am guessing you were an angel when you were in school. Well, I was not an angel, so I can tell you what effect Facebook policing this would have: it would move somewhere else, where it will not be policed. Even if every website on the Internet were policing this, there are enough hackers and geeks at every high school that you would see teenagers setting up their own bulletin boards, email systems, etc. -- and don't think for a moment that a geeky kid would turn down the popularity points they would gain by running such a thing. If you took the Internet and the cell phones away, then teenagers would pass thumb drives around.
Basically, you would need to erase computers entirely to prevent this from happening. Good luck with that one.
Moreover, I'd argue that Facebook has a responsibility, as a company that makes a ton of money off these teenagers, that they don't when those teenagers share the same pictures via sneakernet.
"Moreover, I'd argue that Facebook has a responsibility, as a company that makes a ton of money off these teenagers, that they don't when those teenagers share the same pictures via sneakernet."
Slippery slope: ISPs also make money off teenagers, possibly even more than Facebook (cell services certainly make more than Facebook -- teenagers basically demand SMS and 3G/4G from their parents these days, which has turned enormous profits for the telecom industry). Do you think it is acceptable for ISPs to be policing this sort of thing too? Facebook is a communications service; they should not be in the business of filtering the communications of their users, any more than Comcast or T-Mobile.
Really, there is a bigger picture here. Yes, bullying is a problem, but if the communications systems that teenagers use were to be filtered as a matter of course, that would just train teenagers to believe that they live in a world where communications are always being watched. Is that really what we want the next generation to grow up thinking? Do we really want the next generation of leaders to believe that one of the things people in authority are supposed do is to monitor the communications of those they govern? Do we want to create adults who shrug at the warrantless wiretapping program?
If your rush to reductionism makes you fail to perceive the difference between Tor and Facebook, I'm not sure what I can do to help you. There are lots of ways to share pictures, and lots of high profile websites, but only a tiny handful, and possibly just one, where you can easily reach everyone in town with a single post.
> Slippery slope: ISPs also make money off teenagers, possibly even more than Facebook (cell services certainly make more than Facebook -- teenagers basically demand SMS and 3G/4G from their parents these days, which has turned enormous profits for the telecom industry). Do you think it is acceptable for ISPs to be policing this sort of thing too? Facebook is a communications service; they should not be in the business of filtering the communications of their users, any more than Comcast or T-Mobile.
I strongly disagree. Comcast and T-mobile are dumb pipes. Facebook is a social networking company that takes advantage of teenage social networks to serve advertisements specifically to teenagers. Comcast sells bandwidth to anyone with the money to pay. Facebook profiles and targets and intentionally sells 13-18 year old eyeballs to advertisers.
> Do we really want the next generation of leaders to believe that one of the things people in authority are supposed do is to monitor the communications of those they govern?
Facebook already monitors your communications. What we're debating here is what how they use the information.