Violating Community Standards

I had firmly in my head, what I was going to write about today. But you know how things happen. We see things, we read things, and suddenly there is a whole new post bursting out of us? That’s me today.

English: Facebook Silhouette

Image credit: Wikipedia.com

Earlier this morning I came across a picture on a Facebook profile which I found offensive and disturbing (not the image above).  I know I’m prone to be disturbed by such images depicting violence, and so usually I have to take a step back and ask myself ‘would others be offended by this picture?’  I thought they would have, so reported the picture to Facebook, hoping that they would also find it offensive and remove it.

I’m not posting the picture here because of how much it disturbs me, and I don’t want others to be disturbed by content on my blog.  But it was an image of a woman holding a hand gun to a man’s head.

This is what Facebook reported back to me:

Status

Photo not removed

Details

Thank you for your report. We carefully reviewed the photo you reported, but found it doesn’t violate our community standard on graphic violence so we didn’t remove it.

Someone has a gun pointed at another person’s head, and that’s doesn’t violate community standards?  Excuse me, but I find that refusal almost more disturbing than the image I objected to.

Interestingly when I followed their hyperlink to graphic violence, I found a lot of words but no specific definition of graphic violence.  What they did do was define violence and threats as:

“Safety is Facebook’s top priority. We remove content and may escalate to law enforcement when we perceive a genuine risk of physical harm, or a direct threat to public safety. You may not credibly threaten others, or organize acts of real-world violence. Organizations with a record of terrorist or violent criminal activity are not allowed to maintain a presence on our site. We also prohibit promoting, planning or celebrating any of your actions if they have, or could, result in financial harm to others, including theft and vandalism.”   (1.)

But that’s talking about what people say on Facebook, rather than what they depict in their images.  What happened to the phrase we all know ‘actions speak louder than words’?  The same ‘images speak louder than words’ could apply, but my guess is that because it wasn’t the owner of the Facebook profile portrayed holding a gun to someone else’s head then everything is fine.  That’s not fine too me at all.

I accept that the gun laws in my country are very different from in other parts of the world.  It is one thing that makes me glad to be a kiwi.  But look what the world was faced with just a few weeks ago when 28 adults and children were tragically killed by gunfire.  The idealist in me would like to think that social media would have reacted quickly and prohibited this type of violent image to be shown.

Personally I can cope with seeing the image, although I find it very disturbing and unnecessary.  I can manage my reactions so that I don’t think that the behaviour depicted in the image is acceptable behaviour.

But my 13-year-old nephew can see this image too, from his Facebook profile.  I think he is a pretty wise kid, but he is a kid and I don’t think it’s acceptable that he is confronted by this sort of stuff simply in keeping up with his friends.

I’m wondering what would make it unacceptable to Facebook?  All I can think of (and I apologise for the graphic impression) is that is the image included a bullet travelling into the victims head.

Facebook say above that “Safety is Facebook’s top priority“.  What a joke.  What safety do they actually care about, other than their own?  If impressionable minds see the type of image I reported today, they assume that such behaviour is normal and acceptable.

I will never accept that one person holding a gun to another’s head is either normal and acceptable.  And God help us if our society gets to the point where it is.

Right now there are people talking about wanting to keep guns away from people with mental illness, but it is not just those people who need to be kept away from guns.  It’s the people who think that the use of guns against others is okay.

And in that group, I’d be inclined to put Facebook. Shame on them, they have an opportunity to take a stand against gun violence yet they aren’t interested.

After-thought:  There were some other issues about this Facebook profile which should have been of concern to Facebook too.  Don’t get me started…

And apologies to any American’s personally offended by my use of this quote today.  I simply use it, not to offend, but to make a point:

“You can’t talk about fucking in America, people say you’re dirty. But if you talk about killing somebody, that’s cool.” 

―    Richard Pryor

International Day of Peace

“A mind at peace, a mind centered and not focused on harming others, is stronger than any physical force in the universe.”

~ Wayne Dyer

Today (Friday) is the International Day of Peace, recognised each year on 21 September.  On this day the United Nations invites all nations and people to honour a cessation of hostilities during the Day, and to otherwise commemorate the Day through education and public awareness on issues related to peace.

I admit that I am less interested in politics in general, and more interested in the recovery and sustainability of people’s mental health, but I have recognised that something that contributes or takes away from my mental health, is when I am disturbed by things I am passionate about.  Peace is one for those things for me.  And I am convinced that a lack of peace causes great harm to the mental health of so many.

The Secretary-General of The United Nations, Ban Ki-moon says:

“On the International Day of Peace, the United Nations calls for a complete cessation of hostilities around the world.

We also ask people everywhere to observe a minute of silence, at noon local time, to honour the victims – those who have lost their lives, and those who survived but must now cope with trauma and pain.

The theme of this year’s observance is “Sustainable Peace for a Sustainable Future”.

Armed conflicts attack the very pillars of sustainable development.

Natural resources must be used for the benefit of society, not to finance wars.

Children should be in school, not recruited into armies.

National budgets should focus on building human capacity, not deadly weapons.

On the International Day of Peace, I call on combatants around the world to find peaceful solutions to their conflicts.

Let us all work together for a safe, just and prosperous future for all.” (1.)

It is the victims of war, and they can be defined in many ways, are the ones I feel most concerned about because they are usually the innocent ones, the one’s who haven’t chosen war, but get stuck in its path.  They are the ones who face years of trauma and pain.  I accept that I have never been in a war zone, and neither do I want to be, but I have been in a war zone in my head (and my body in relation to my eating disorder and self harm).  I know from that how much damage war does and I believe strongly that there has to be another way to solve conflict.

“I am fed up to the ears with old men dreaming up wars for young men to die in.”

 - George McGovern

And it’s not just men.  Only a few weeks ago my country mourned the death of our first woman soldier in killed in combat.  Her death was no worse than the death of the two men who died with her, but it somehow hit home to me, particularly when I watched the footage of the all-female pall-bearer party carry her coffin off the plane that brought the bodies home.

I have complete respect for those who serve their countries in war, but I have no respect for the leaders who craft the wars.  Those who send soldiers to war and create conflicts where innocent people are killed.  There simply has to be another way.

Because of my interest in mental health I keep asking the question, what must war do to the mental health of those involved?  We only need to consider for a moment the statistics of suicide and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) amongst soldiers, but we have little knowledge of the impact on civilians.  It must simply be enormous, and I don’t believe that this impact on either soldiers or civilians is acceptable.

Image credit: Michelle Frost
Blog Blast for Peace

I am just one person, many miles from the conflicts that are taking place at the moment.  I could say, what can I do?  I can’t change anything.  But I strongly believe that I can make a difference simply by raising the issue,  recognising the event today, and hoping for peace.  It’s not easy to change our world, but that is no excuse not to try.  I am going to continue to write about this, and as I have said before, have committed to the Blog Blast 4 Peace on 4 November.  Maybe it’s not exactly what my blog is usually about, but it is something that I feel strongly about because it has an effect on my life (and yours).

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“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”

 - Edmund Burke
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“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

 - Margaret Mead

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