Facebook Under Fire for Refusing to Remove Page Offensive to Autistic People
Facebook is in some hot water after a bizarre situation in which the social media giant declined to remove a group page that stereotypes autistic people as mass murderers.
According to Forbes, the popular social media website is under attack after failing to take down a controversial user-constructed page despite widespread protest over the weekend.
The page claims it exists for “families united against autistic shooters.”
It is assumed to have been created in response to the tragic mass shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, OR, in which nine people lost their lives.
The shooter’s family confirmed that he has had mental health issues in the past, which compounds the narrative of mental health being a factor in most mass murders that have occurred in the U.S.
It remains unclear whether the page was created in jest or as a serious endeavor, though the aggressive language used in its posts suggests that its content is sincere.
About 70% of Internet users engage with Facebook daily (and 45% do so several times a day), so it’s not surprising that the page has gained so much momentum. However, the exposure works both ways, and Facebook was inundated with requests to remove the page within hours of its creation.
The website initially declined to remove the page, citing that it did not violate their Community Standards. After further backlash, Facebook acquiesced, and took the page down. However, as of Monday morning, the page is fully functional again.
This isn’t the first time that Facebook has come under fire for allowing controversial pages to remain on the site.
According to the Huffington Post, there were a number of offensive pages on the website in 2011 that Facebook refused to taken down until a Change.org petition garnered over 180,000 signatures, forcing the company to back off of its original stance.
Pages from the 2011 controversy include: “What’s 10 inches and gets girls to have sex with me? My knife.” and “Kicking sluts in the vagina because its [sic] funny watching your foot disappear”
As for their current faux pas, many feel as if Facebook is only adding to the stigma of autism that is constantly perpetuated throughout America by refusing to remove the page.
Their Community Standards page says that their goal is to “make people to feel safe when they use Facebook,” which many feel is being contradicted by the website’s persistence in keeping the page.
Facebook has yet to release an official statement on the incident.