Facebook’s ‘community standards’ are subject to nearly as much debate as the U.S. Constitution (“Is that a comma or a smudge?” “Is it okay to post pictures of breastfeeding but ban other forms of nudity?*”)
But you know, while there are obviously difficult lines for Facebook to navigate as a vast network present in hundreds of countries and subject to the whims of the same number of governments and regulators, some issues seem fairly cut and dry. Here’s one:
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Project Harpoon (PH) is a Facebook group – and Tumblr – born of a subreddit called /r/thinnerbeauty. You can probably tell from the name of that forum where we’re headed. PH takes images of larger women and aggressively photoshops them to make them look more like its notion of ‘beauty.’
And the tedious answer, again as I’m sure you’ve already worked out, is that the ideal woman is skinny. Larger women are ugly in the eyes of this bunch of cowardly internet bullies.
Of course, PH wraps itself in a comfy blanket of justifications. It calls itself a “collaborative art project open to interpretation.” Well, here’s my interpretation: These people are nasty, small-minded image thieves, using tools build to enhance creativity to do destructive things.
Why even throw any light on yet another dank swamp of internet misogyny? Because this group is living free and easy on Facebook, even as it rampantly steals other people’s photos and engages in conduct that is manifestly hate speech.
This is not an experiment or an art installation, this is active, aggressive and obsessively conducted attacks on real people, distorting their bodies to make a crass and cruel point.
Yes, of course, I realize that the entire group and its assorted spinoffs are simply trollish spins on the ‘fat acceptance’ movement and that if Facebook squashes the group, it will pop up elsewhere. However, it matters because it has a home on Facebook right now.
I have, of course, contacted Facebook for comment on the existence of PH and to find out how the company feels it fits with those much-debated community standards. With any luck, the minnows behind this idea will soon be harpooned from the face of the internet.
Update: Facebook doesn’t comment on individual cases – that’s the comment it just gave me – but surprise, surprise, the group has now been removed.
with another word. Images taken from Project Harpoon and obscured. If you are one of the women shown in these images, tweet me @brokenbottleboy or email mic@thenextweb if you want to talk.
H/T to The Telegraph where I discovered this abomination of a Facebook group
*Oh, btw, the answer here is: Obviously.
Update #2: It’s back.