Woman takes on Facebook to stop inflammatory rape posts
A woman says she's received rape threats, even death threats, for helping create a Facebook page aimed at cleaning up Facebook.
Trista helped create a page that puts a spotlight on other Facebook pages potentially harmful to women and children. We agreed to not publish her last name to protect her from future threats.
She and a group of women established "Rapebook" a few months ago as a way to get pages that joke about or glorify rape off of Facebook.
"Threatening and joking about rape or even threatening rape is not free speech," Trista said.
Rapebook encourages fans to report pages they consider abusive. In many cases the effort has been successful, because pages promoting pedophilia or child pornography have been removed.
But that's prompted backlash against Trista and her group. They've been accused of censorship.
"I'm gonna trace your IP address then come to your house in the night in a possum suit knock you out take you out back to my cellar," read one post.
"So they (posted) my picture and my email addresses, my phone number, where I live," Trista said.
She also showed a reporter pictures that were posted to her page.
"These are all actual pictures of women being raped," she said.
Trista has since deleted her personal profile and taken measures to protect herself, but she believes Facebook should do more.
"I feel like they have the tools that they could make it a better space, but they choose not to. It must be profitable on some level" for them not to do so, she said.
What does Facebook say about this?
Fred Wolens, spokesman for the social media giant, said Wednesday afternoon that Facebook evaluates reported pages on a case by case basis.
What about the one labeled "controversial humor"? It's about raping babies.
Wolens said the company has looked at the page but "it's not making credible threats to any particular person and they've determined the attempt is to be funny. ...(Facebook) tries to have a very permissive attitude toward humor because different cultures have different views of what is or isn't humor."
But it's an attitude that Trista doesn't find funny at all.
"I definitely don't think it's a safe place for women or especially children," she said. "I would never let my kids have a Facebook page after this because there's so much on there that's really scary."
Trista says she has reported the threats made against her to law enforcement. An FBI spokesperson said if someone feels like their life is in danger because of a threat over Facebook or other means, people really shouldn't hesitate to call.
If you have a story for our On Your Side Investigators, email them at email@example.com.