Facebook bans user for re-posting death threat


by Shantel Burns    
10:21 am - November 17th 2012

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Facebook has banned a Women’s right campaigner after she re-posted a death threat which was made against her.

Icelandic citizen Hildur Lilliendahl Viggósdóttir received a 30 day ban for posting a screen grab of a public status – which was a death threat directed towards her – because she did not have permission from the author, the Daily Mail reports.

Ms Viggósdóttir, a well-known Icelandic Women’s right campaigner, re-posts sexist comments made by men on the internet as screenshots in her Facebook album called ‘Men Who Hate Women’.

According to Reykjavik Grapevine magazine, fellow Icelandic Facebooker Stefán Heiðar Erlingsson posted the status which read:

If I ‘accidentally’ ran over Hildur, she is probably the only person on earth that I would back up over, and leave the car on top of her with the hand brake on!!!;) Put this in your ‘men who hate Hildur’ folder, Hildur Lilliendahl.

Ms Viggósdóttir re-posted the message and was subsequently banned from the social networking site for 30-days.

Talking to the Telegraph, the 31 year-old, mother of two said: “I have been reported several times on the grounds of screenshots posted in the album. So I moved the album to a Tumblr page after Facebook blocked me so that I could keep it open.”

Facebook have defended its action by saying that they must apply their rules ‘consistently’ to ensure that ‘the best possible protection…’ is offered to its users.

Many have questioned the strange nature of the rule which allows somebody to post a message which can be considered a death threat – but forbids anyone else to take a screen shot of it and repost it.

As the Reykjavik Grapevine pointed out, Mr Erlingsson did give Ms Viggósdóttir permission to repost his status when he said, “…Put this in your ‘men who hate Hildur’ folder, Hildur Lilliendahl”.

This brings to question whether Facebook acted on its own rules without any clear reason.

A petition has been started by blogger Eva Hauksdóttir which calls for Facebook to change its Terms of Service.

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About the author
Shantel Burns is a News Editor at Liberal Conspiracy, and a publishing and journalism student and current affairs nerd. Blogs at: ramblepolitics.blogspot.co.uk too.
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Story Filed Under: Civil liberties ,Crime ,News


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Reader comments


1. Chaise Guevara

That’s not in fact a death threat. Unpleasant and uncalled-for, but not a death threat. In fact, this article seems to change its mind on the subject, going from calling it a death threat to saying it could be seen as one.

He pretty bloody obviously did give her permission to post it, though.

From this news report in Saturday’s The Economist, the Holy See is going to have a lot more excommunicating to do but the more interesting question is about why gay marriages are becoming so popular:

FOR the first time in America, three states voted on November 6th to allow gay couples to wed—ending a succession of electoral defeats for the measure in 32 states. A fourth state rejected a proposed ban. In Catholic France the new Socialist government has just approved a bill to permit same-sex marriage. New Zealand is preparing to pass similar legislation next year. Governments in England and Scotland have also pledged to do so soon. And in Spain a gay-marriage law passed seven years ago has finally been given a seal of approval by the Constitutional Court.
http://www.economist.com/news/international/21566626-trend-toward-giving-homosexuals-full-marriage-rights-gaining-momentum-have-and

Should committed feminists cheer or not?

Madness!

Facebook is wrong – but I wouldn’t republish death threats and all the misogynist shit on the web. The guys who make them want attention above everything else. Knowing they have made an impact including one of outrage and disgust gives them a buzz. They’re like flashers – get away from them as fast as you can. The only reason to publish their crap is if you can identify the person who made the remark and spoil their reputation.

5. Chaise Guevara

@ 4 Rosie

“The only reason to publish their crap is if you can identify the person who made the remark and spoil their reputation.”

How would you feel about a misogynist finding out the identity of an outspoken but anonymous feminist and publishing that online against her wishes?

This sort of thing has a harassment/stalking vibe to me, even if the person on the receiving end is a certified arsehole. It’s an intimidation tactic.

“Ms Viggósdóttir” is a tautology.

This story (I made no effort to understand its meanderings) demonstrates the foolishness of living your life through Facebook. Participants have little control of how data placed on Facebook is used by the company or by other Facebook users. At the same time, Facebook users are restricted on what they can say or display.

“A petition has been started by blogger Eva Hauksdóttir which calls for Facebook to change its Terms of Service.”

No, just don’t use Facebook.

The internet is a big open space. Facebook is a control freak managed garden.

This sort of thing has a harassment/stalking vibe to me, even if the person on the receiving end is a certified arsehole. It’s an intimidation tactic.

Yeah, damn her for being ‘intimidating’ by re-posting something he said about running her over.

“The only reason to publish their crap is if you can identify the person who made the remark and spoil their reputation.”

Nope. Another good reason is to draw attention to the fact that this sort of harassment takes place on a regular basis. Maybe for many people that’s not news, but for those of us who’ve never received messages like this it’s worth knowing about.

@ Chaise – I’ve re-read the post and see that the identity of the violent fantasist was known. So yeah, I would re-post his garbage to show what a shit he is.

“How would you feel about a misogynist finding out the identity of an outspoken but anonymous feminist and publishing that online against her wishes?

This sort of thing has a harassment/stalking vibe to me, even if the person on the receiving end is a certified arsehole. It’s an intimidation tactic.”

On the whole I agree anonymity on the web should be respected. But it would be no disgrace to be outed as an outspoken feminist – whereas it should be a disgrace to be outed as someone who throws around threats of violence against women, gays or anyone else.

Johann Hari had a habit of accusing people of antisemitism and homophobia under an anonymous cloak- shouldn’t he have been outed? Orlando Figes trashed rival historians’ books on Amazon while extolling his own – shouldn’t that have been revealed?

10. Chaise Guevara

@ 7 Sunny

“Yeah, damn her for being ‘intimidating’ by re-posting something he said about running her over.”

I didn’t say she was being intimidating. I said that finding out the ID of a commenter who wants to be anonymous, then revealing said ID against their wishes (or threatening to for that matter) is an intimidation tactic. Which it is. The woman in question did not, to my knowledge, do this. Rosie raised it in the post I replied to.

Bothering to read posts before replying to them is generally a good idea.

11. Chaise Guevara

@ 9 Rosie

“I’ve re-read the post and see that the identity of the violent fantasist was known. So yeah, I would re-post his garbage to show what a shit he is.”

Oh, agreed. He not only volunteered his name in a publicly visible comment, he gave her specific permission to repost (in fact, he requested she do so). He’s got no grounds to complain and Facebook seems to be flat wrong in banning her for this repost, unless I’m missing something. Can’t comment on the other items she’s received complaints for as I don’t know what they are.

“On the whole I agree anonymity on the web should be respected. But it would be no disgrace to be outed as an outspoken feminist – whereas it should be a disgrace to be outed as someone who throws around threats of violence against women, gays or anyone else.”

Disgrace, no, but she might have other reasons for wanting to maintain anonymity, if only to avoid facing invective when offline.

“Johann Hari had a habit of accusing people of antisemitism and homophobia under an anonymous cloak- shouldn’t he have been outed? Orlando Figes trashed rival historians’ books on Amazon while extolling his own – shouldn’t that have been revealed?”

You’re right, this is less black and white than I thought when I made my initial comment. Honestly not sure what the rule should be here. Obviously if someone’s accused of libel then they may have to be ID’d for the legal challenge, but I can see where both of those actions might be legal while still reprehensible.

12. Chaise Guevara

@ Rosie

…Also I can’t comment on what she posts because I just had a look and they’re all in Icelandic.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
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