“Men Are Scum”: Self-Regulation, Hate Speech, and Gender-Based Censorship on Facebook
Because social media sites are self-regulating, each site has developed its own community standards, which serve as regulatory tools. However, the processes of content moderation are often unclear, subjective, and discriminatory. Drawing from a series of interviews with individuals in the “Men Are Scum” movement, this article describes the experiences of women who have been censored on Facebook and explores whether self-regulatory processes on this platform are distinctly gendered. It asserts that both explicit censorship (e.g., limited displays of the body) and implicit censorship (e.g., rampant and unchecked hate speech silencing women’s voices) are operative on Facebook, limiting women’s expressive potentiality. Thus, this article proposes the term “gender-based censorship” as a lens through which to understand women’s experiences on Facebook. These findings help reveal the pitfalls of industry self-regulation in which profit motives are prioritized over protection of users (especially those who may be marginalized offline).