Facebook Marketing Gone Awry – A Tale of Venom and Hate

Facebook needs to do a lot more to stop hate speech, especially hate speech attacking marginalized communities.

Time for me to rant a little.

This will probably be my last blog I pay to promote on my business Facebook.  Why?  Part of my marketing budget goes toward promoting my diversity blogs on Facebook, but now I am increasingly being bombarded by hate – which Facebook refuses to acknowledge or dialogue with me about. Perhaps this blog and my story of Facebook and hate will be read by some Facebook professionals who will want to engage with me and see if this can be fixed… I do have some positive, constructive suggestions.

Let me explain the situation.

I am a diversity consultant and trainer and write 2-3 blogs per month on a variety of topics. They include addressing racism, the value of diversity, being an ally, supporting the LGBTQ community, hiring veterans, addressing Islamaphobia and more. Then I write a one or two sentence summary with a link and pay Facebook to push the ad to people interested in these particular topics.

Now here is the issue … when I specify that I want a blog summary and link targeted to people interested in anti-racism, or the LGBTQ community, or diversity trainers for example, I am trying to appeal to people who are interested in those topics with a desire to learn or find resources. But the Facebook algorithm pushes the ad to all people who have commented or engaged around those topics, including those who write nasty comments about those topics.

Now whenever I promote a blog on a diversity topic, I often receive 20 – 30 comments, 95% of them nasty and hateful. A small handful voice disagreement in a respectful way that encourages a dialogue, but a vast majority are hateful nasty comments about the group I am writing about, or personal attacks telling me I can go to a certain very hot place, or to copulate with myself (I assume you get the drift.)

Why are there so many toxic people who only want to spread poison everywhere?

Some of these comments are truly over the top. Examples:
• When one young gay man who got fired from his job for being gay  found my blog encouraging, another reader called him a faggot who deserved to be fired, and should go to hell. (I reported this to Facebook and they replied this did NOT violate their community standards.)
• In response to a blog fighting Islamaphobia, someone posted a photo of an Arab holding a severed baby head declaring that the intent of all Muslims in the US was to kill our children.
• One women summarily declaring that transgender people are all mentally ill.

Often I will check the Facebook feed of the individuals who write this stuff, and normally 80% of their feeds are nasty hateful attacks of people who are not like them. Their Facebook feeds are full of hate, nastiness and poison.

Sadly, having diverse people who may read my posts, but then see these harmful nasty comments before I get a chance to remove them, may cause more harm than good, so I think I will stop using Facebook marketing. I have tried to engage Facebook on this issue, and I even have some suggestions in how to fix and address this, but Facebook refuses to engage with me.  We really do need a safe space for nurturing forums for marginalized communities void of hate and attacks.

Thanks for listening to and reading this rant.

Something Cool and New – Transgender Day of Visibility (TDOV) – Three Actions

From Trans Pride 2020 in the UK

Did something new start this year, or maybe I just wasn’t aware of it?  March 31st as Trans Day of Visibility. So I had to do my research and found the first time March 31st was celebrated as the Trans Day of Visibility was way back in 2009!

Transgender people are becoming much more visible across the world, but there are also a great number of issues around discrimination that need to be addressed. So hopefully more and more people will pay attention to March 31st.

One annual commemoration I have known about and have blogged about a few times is the Transgender Day of Remembrance. The Annual Transgender Day of Remembrance, November 20, started in 1999, about a year after Rita Hester, a transgender woman and activist in Boston, was found murdered in her own apartment. It is very sad that transgender people are murdered or physically harmed at an extremely high rate compared to the general population, often fueled by hatred of this misunderstood segment of our community. I wrote my first blog about the Trans Day of Remembrance back in 2015.

It is indeed very important to focus on the totally unjustified and horrific killing of fellow human beings simply because of their gender identity or expression, and this needs to be addressed. But very importantly, we must go further. We need to move way beyond simply ending the violence, but also addressing systemic prejudice against trans people in employment, housing, education, sports and more.

And we also need to honor and recognize all the wonderful contributions transgender people have made to our world over time.

Transgender people have made great contributions to society, like Martine Rothblatt, inventor of Sirius Radio

In my 2015 Transgender Day of Remembrance blog, I shared several organizational policies and procedures that should be put in place to fully support transgender employees.

Now recently, transgender activist and workplace belonging expert Rhodes Perry (see my blog about his book) sent out an email to his many followers this year encouraging all of us to take at least one of 3 actions throughout the year in honor of TDOV:

1) Self-Educate. Participate in one of the Transgender Training Institute’s virtual webinars and support their sustainability campaign.

2) Change Systems. Commit to building gender inclusive systems, policies, and practices by taking the Higher gender inclusion audit.

3) Invest in Trans Leaders. Donate to the Trans Justice Funding Project, and support trans leaders moving & shaking the world.  (Note Total Engagement Consulting contributed $100 to this project on March 31st)

And I myself also love consulting and training in this area, so please never hesitate to get in touch if I can assist you in anyway in advancing transgender and gender nonbinary equity in your organization.

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Do watch my last year’s Transgender Day of Remembrance interview for City of Greensboro’s monthly “One Greensboro” diversity broadcast. The tape is now on Youtube –  the first section is about Native American Heritage Month and then my 9 minute interview around Transgender Awareness starts at the 20 min 50 second mark.