Follow Up

Fight for a facelift for Facebook

Friday, Dec 18, 2015,20:58 IST By metrovaartha A A A

Lonely or bored if not rather busy and engaged, one routine is common for almost all youngsters, a login and logout on Facebook. It is now a trend, especially among the youth to roam in that virtual world of familiar faces. A lot lives a day beginning with Facebook and ending with it. They enjoy posting Status, counting Likes, commenting elsewhere, etc. But as a social networking medium Facebook not always should show up its face acceptable in merits and means, at least a few concerned women think so.
One may recall the attack and death threat on Rejina, a journalist, who posted on Facebook recently about her experience of physical harassment in Madrasa and raised voice for those helpless people and on Preetha G.P, who was brutally slut-shamed, harassed and abused on Facebook through a page in Malayalam.
What provoked the abusers of Preetha was her protest through Facebook against the statement of P. Sudhakaran on women. The hate pages instigated a huge degree of violence, hurled abuses at her dignity and womanhood. It contained her morphed pictures with sexually explicit abuses, targeting even her autistic son.
She has lots of followers on Facebook and used the platform to express her political opinions, her ideas on gender and minority rights. She had reported to FB authorities regarding this. But the answer from them was not favourable to her. The post doesn’t violate community standards, was the Facebook answer to her. Her account was being closed for three times. No action from cybercell too, even though she has given a complaint.
The bitter experiences women like Preetha were facing prompted eight women, they too had pungent experiences on Facebook, to organise a group to raise voice for helpless women targeted on Facebook. As a result of that, ‘For A Better FB’ took birth. Aswathy Senan, Inchipennu, Jaseela Cheriyavalappil, Jina D’cruz, Kunjila Masila Mani, Maya, Leela, Naj. J, G.P. Preetha etc. are the members of the group.
Their communion comes forward with three demands, Right to privacy, Right to security, Right to culture. The most notable demand, they have raised, related to privacy is to avoid the Real Name Policy of Facebook. The hidden aim is to not to recognise them. They want FB as a platform to share their ideas. Their main objective in security is to start a new system to keep away from the hate page and mass reporting policy.
The main demand related to culture is to put an end to the English language monopoly on Facebook. Facebook is using widely irrespective of language, region, etc. But no experts among Facebook authorities knew regional languages. They can’t even realise the attacks or abuse when it is written in native languages like Malayalam. The attack on Preetha was using dirty words in Malayalam. The main cultural intervention required in their opinion is to appoint experts in regional languages apart from English.
One great supporter of this movement is Noam Chomsky, the American linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, logician, socio-political activist, and the father of modern linguistics. International organisations like American civil liberties union, digital right foundation, global voices advocacy like 75 organisations are the great supporters of  ‘For A Better FB’.
The net result is Facebook came forward to endorse some demands forwarded by them. As a part of this, FB got ready to collect the data of wounded women complainants. For A Better FB’s door is always open to those women who meet with any attack through Facebook. “Many started to approach this group. This is a good sign that everybody accepts it”, says Aswathy, one of the members of the group. Though it was formed in Kerala, it received world’s attention.
They hope and expect a better Facebook in the near future, where every woman enjoys the freedom to express their ideas fearlessly.