Holy hell.

Facebook has shut down the group “People Against Racebending: Protest of the Cast of The Last Airbender Movie,” apparently on the grounds that its campaigning against the whitewashing of the movie constitutes being “hateful, threatening, or obscene [… or that it] attack[s] an individual or group, or advertise[s] a product or service.”

I’ve already got a lot of reasons for not liking Facebook. Now I have a new one. And while I don’t know for sure that the people behind the movie (Shyamalan or the production company or whoever) pushed Facebook to do this, it’s certainly the first and most likely possibility that springs to mind. Because that group’s been around for months, with over six thousand members. Something had to bring it to Facebook’s attention and insist it was a problem. And that something was almost certainly a someone — a someone with a vested interest in shutting down protest.

This? Is not. cool. For all the reasons that Hal Duncan outlines at that first link, and more besides. If anybody hears word of useful things to do in response, please let me know.

0 Responses to “Holy hell.”

  1. mindstalk

    Googling [racebending facebook] found http://www.racebending.com/v3/community/facebook-restores-racebending-com-group/
    seems like they’re back. Your link is 8 days old, after all. :p

    But yeah, shitty of Facebook even so, especially given an absence of explanation or apology.

    • Marie Brennan

      Dear Own Brain: Yes, while Tuesday was yesterday, you should note that Tuesdays happen approximately every seven days.

      Dear : Thanks. This appears to be one of the bits of internet kerfuffling I missed while out of town, and I only saw the Hal Duncan thing linked today.

      • akashiver

        Judging from Facebook’s email, they thought they were shutting down a racist site. This smacks of the “lj shutting down Lolita fashion communities” fiasco: someone makes a complaint, web-based company shuts online community down without investigating. At least in Facebook’s case they appear to have restored the community in question.

        It’s interesting to watch companies struggle with the speed of the Internet. They know a negative story like “lj supports child porn!” or “Facebook supports kicking Gingers” can spread incredibly quickly and tarnish the company’s reputation. So the instant a complaint is made, they quickly shut the offending site down, so that nobody can accuse them of being slow to respond. And as a result, they generate a negative story about censorship that spreads really quickly and tarnishes the company’s reputation. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

        As for the complainent being someone with a vested interest in the movie… perhaps, (although they were shortsighted if that were the case). It’s equally likely that some dumb twit saw “People Against Racebending”‘s name in a list of suggested groups, went “‘People against race!’ That’s racist!” — and hit the “complaint” button. There are a lot of bad readers out there on the web, and many of them have quick trigger fingers.

        • mindstalk

          Interesting model of the dynamic, shiver.
          I’m just glad I googled before passing it on myself. OTOH, I’m also interested in knowing that it happened, so I don’t want to be hard on swan_tower. 🙂

        • greybar

          I think your take is probably what happened. I expect if you showed the title “People Against Racebending” to 100 people, a large proportion would think that it means opposition to interracial marriage.

  2. hakamadare

    there is, fundamentally, only one useful thing that it is possible to do with regards to a site, especially a humongous site like Facebook: don’t use it. they have a sufficiently large userbase that they can afford to not care about even quite large amounts of outrage.

    i can’t help but want to contrast the position taken by Dreamwidth recently when confronted with a comparable issue.


  3. d_c_m

    Your post just reminded me how sad I am that Asian people are being played by Caucasians. I really wanted to see this movie. There is no way that I will ever give it my money now. *sigh*

    I was really looking forward to this movie. Dear Producers: I was really looking forward to seeing new and/or existing Asian talent tear up the screen with these great characters. I am so very sad that is not happening.

    This year.

  4. Anonymous

    As somebody who has fenced both modern weapons (saber) and period rapier, I thank you for this.

    So many times, my Sword!Wonk will bring my enjoyment of a story (or a TV show or movie) to a screeching halt if something just does not play right for me.

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