After returning to our desks this morning from a meeting, we were met with an inbox flooded with emails. Quite literally, there were hundreds upon hundreds of messages all regarding the same subject: Facebook, the second most viewed website in the world (according to Alexa.com) and (sadly) one of the most influential arbiters of pop culture today, has posted a memorial page to honor the six young men who have recently taken their own lives as a direct result of bullying, cyber and otherwise. In this Facebook 'event', people are asked to wear purple on Wednesday, October 20th, to directly honor these boys.
The issue at hand is not the fact that there is a Facebook page dedicated to these gentlemen and their plight. What the LGBT community and their supporters are concerned, disturbed and outraged by is that in the comments for this page, while remaining mostly positive, have spiraled into a sounding board for vitriolic sentiments and upsetting, hate-filled messages of homophobia. This, incidentally, is a direct violation of Facebook's terms of service which states that they will not help propagate nor host content that is "hateful, threatening, or pornographic; incites violence; or contains nudity or graphic or gratuitous violence." People are demanding, rightfully so, to not only have this event removed, but also for Facebook to respond to why this page wasn't immediately taken down and to explain themselves and apologize to the public, especially the families of the victims.
This is actually a situation so sad that it's difficult, if not impossible, to find the fitting words to express how we here at Out feel. That such hatred and anger would continue to be directed at these men, after the very same actions are the cause of their terrible situations, is truly incomprehensible. Our hearts go out to those families who recently lost loved ones, and anyone who feels threatened or bullied. As we're constantly being reminded, please don't forget that IT GETS BETTER.
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