So I discovered a Facebook message a friend had sent the night before while laying in bed reading my iPad. Some clown apparently thought it would be a good idea to use my images (along with someone else’s) to creep on women (apparently bartenders at one particular bar, it seems). The message went something like “You’re pretty, why don’t girls like you date me.”
I was more annoyed than anything. One more thing to deal with, I thought. But what I would find later made me realize how Facebook’s reporting policies do nothing to protect women.
What? You’re wondering. How did you make that leap? Read on, good reader.
I waited until I got to my coffee shop of choice, and pulled up Facebook. I found the errant account, and found my photos. Clicking under options brought up “report image.” That sounds right, so I clicked that. The only option that was appropriate was “This is a photo of me and I don’t like it.”
After THAT, the closest option is “it’s inappropriate.” There’s no option for “identity theft” or “this person is creeping on women using my picture.” Nothing like “this person used my likeness without permission” or “this person stole this photo.”
So I chose “inappropriate” since that seemed like the most appropriate option. Then you know what? They make you send a note to the person.
This is where I grow concern for women on Facebook. Because this response might be appropriate for someone who just didn’t like the way they look in the photo, or wanted to hide an embarrassing moment. But what about the woman who’s being harassed/stalked on Facebook?
This happened to a female friend of mine. She once shared photos with a man she was intimate with. He got weird, and she stopped seeing him. But he wouldn’t let it go, and continued to harass and stalk her. He started setting up fake profiles featuring her and posting these photos to her friends.
So under this circumstance, she would be expected to contact her stalker? Please. That’s like the police saying “can you call your stalker first and just ask him to stop.”
I’m not so disappointed for my sake. I had no problem sending him a note suggesting in no uncertain terms what would happen if he did not remove said pictures. But what about someone who was genuinely concerned for their safety?
Facebook has had a bad track record with addressing this type of behavior. It needs to get a lot better.