With over two billion users worldwide, Facebook wields more cultural influence than most governments.  How then did it respond when activists called Facebook to task for hate speech and misogynist images?

Even though Facebook has a system for identifying and removing hate speech until early this month language and imagery that glorifies violence against women were not removed.

What made the difference?  You and I made the difference – with over 5000 emails to Facebook advertisers, more than 60,000 Twitter posts and 224,000 signatures on a Change.org petition.

In response to the public outcry against posts that said things like “Don’t wrap it and tap it – Rape it and Tape it!” fifteen advertisers pulled their support from the ubiquitous social media site.  Facebook has promised to review and update the guidelines regarding hate speech on the site, and plans to increase the accountability of users who post hateful content.

More and more, online behavior influences behavior in the real world.  The Center Against Domestic Violence is dedicated to cultivating a society free from violence and abuse.  We drive cultural change through education and intervention.  Through our Relationship Abuse Prevention Program on fifteen campuses throughout New York City, the Center teaches 27,000 teens to be pro-social online and in the real world.

Our groundbreaking programs teach young people how to identify and avoid abuse so that they can develop healthy relationships.  The Center has added new units that address online behavior to our acclaimed Speak your Peace (intermediate school) and Pride Education Equality Respect – PEER (high school) curricula.  The acceptance of violence, gender inequality, harassment, and bullying, are not new – only the venue is new.  As citizens, parents, and activists, we need to condemn violence and create positive environments in both places.

The Center’s Relationship Abuse Prevention Program is a public/private partnership that depends on your contributions and your advocacy to continue.  Relationships are Elementary, the Center’s pilot program to teach elementary school students about healthy relationships, is completely funded by your contributions.

Together we can make this a safer world for ourselves and our children.