UPDATE: Queen’s University Belfast page (“Rate Your Buck”) has been removed! Well done! 10 AM, 29.05.2013
UPDATE 2: people are contacting me about similar pages popping up today – ask your friends to report the page and contact any relevant authorities demanding action.
“Rate Your Shag” Facebook pages have appeared across the UK this week encouraging people to describe their sexual encounters, provide a rating out of 10, and name their sexual partners.
Many UK universities are represented in this new form of nonsense, with pages popping up since Monday of this week. Towns and cities are now also joining in.
Why this is harmful:
|| This is a form of bullying and harassment. By naming people along with intimate details about them, the creators of and contributors to the page are putting the mental health of others at risk.
|| Having one’s name associated with this kind of ‘banter’ could lead to problems with employment both for those who contribute and those who are implicated by tagging.
|| This creates a culture in which people and sex are cheapened to numbers and ‘banter’.
|| These pages also bring the reputation of universities into disrepute. This is the angle to take when contacting these bodies: unfortunately this has in the past seemed to be a more pressing concern than the mental health of students.
What to do:
Nottingham University’s page was taken down last night after it was reported to Facebook. Belfast’s first page was also banned yesterday after 4 hours in existence (though another has now been created.) We CAN get rid of these pages. It is important, however, to strike now. I’d encourage you to get involved: you have a voice, and I guarantee it will be heard.
It is also important to look beyond individual pages: specific to universities, senior management must take matters seriously to avoid pages like these being created in the future; and more generally, Facebook must adapt a more vigilant policy against this kind of abuse. Just last night Everyday Sexism’s campaign was heard and in HUGE news, Facebook responded to concerns expressed by thousands over harmful images being allowed on the site. They do listen. Let’s talk.
1. Report the pages. The reason for reporting that receives most attention is “it’s harassing me or someone I know”. Ask your friends to do the same.
2. Contact the universities. Specific to Queen’s University Belfast: Director of the Students’ Union Gordon Douglas (g.Douglas@qub.ac.uk), Head of Student Welfare Paula Moran (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Marketing Manager Peter McConkey (email@example.com) are the people to get in touch with. Express your concern and ask to be informed about the course of action that is taken. Gordon Douglas responded to an email last night and responses have already been received today from several others noting that immediate action is being taken.