Trolls leaving nasty comments on the Internet about Lizzo may soon have to find another hobby. In her battle against racists and body-shamers, Facebook is implementing its rules around harmful accounts. TMZ reported the social media platform has moved to delete profiles of users who have left distasteful comments on the singer’s profile. Comments have already been erased for violating Facebook’s policies against hate speech.
Facebook’s community standards prohibit racism, harassment, bullying, and all forms of hate speech. The company defines hate speech as “a direct attack against people — rather than concepts or institutions— on the basis of what we call protected characteristics: race, ethnicity, national origin, disability, religious affiliation, caste, sexual orientation, sex, gender identity, and serious disease.”
The rules on what not to post are broken down into tiers. Tier 1 includes content targeting a person or group of people (including all subsets except those described as having carried out violent crimes or sexual offenses) on the basis of their aforementioned protected characteristic(s) or immigration status, such as violent speech or support in written or visual form. This includes dehumanizing speech or imagery in the form of comparisons, generalizations, and designated dehumanizing comparisons, generalizations, or behavioral statements.
This means accounts calling Black people apes or ape-like creatures, comparing Muslim people and pigs, or making claims that Jewish people running the world or controlling major institutions such as media networks, the economy, or the government are in danger of being deleted. Tier 2 bans content targeting a person or group of people on the basis of their protected characteristic(s) with generalizations that state inferiority. Tier 3, the final level, prohibits segregation or exclusion n the form of calls for action, statements of intent, aspirational or conditional statements, or statements advocating or supporting segregation.
While Lizzo has been the target of racist, fatphobic statements, she is unfortunately not alone. Actor Idris Elba has even suggested people be mandated to submit ID for identity verification to prevent digital hate after England soccer players Marcus Rashford, Bukayo Saka, and Jadon Sancho faced racist abuse after their team lost to Italy.
A survey reported by the Anti-Defamation League found that 41% of internet users experienced some form of online hate this year with 27% of respondents experiencing severe sexual harassment, stalking, physical threats, swatting, doing, and sustained harassment. Black respondents reported a sharp rise in race-based harassment, from 42% last year to 59% this year. The data also found 41% of respondents who experienced a physical threat stated that the platform took no action and only 14 % of those who experienced a physical threat said the platform deleted the threatening content.
For Lizzo, the uptick in hateful comments comes after the 33-year-old singer released her new song, “Rumors,” featuring Cardi B. She shared an Instagram video celebrating her success despite the online comments about her skin tone and her size. In the video, she eats cake and smiles while she addresses the hateful trolls.
“I’m okay, but just know that I’m the kind of artist that is going to be completely transparent if it’s necessary to start a conversation for some progress,” she remarked. “We need to be moving forward yall, and sometimes I feel like we be moving backwards. I’m not here to do a whole press about that, but I wanted to express my gratitude for everyone who listened to ‘Rumors.'”
Facebook-owned platform, Instagram, has also moved to delete comments and accounts that frequently troll the comment section, according to the TMZ report. On August 12, Adam Mosseri, Head of Instagram, released a statement regarding abuse on the platform and announced new features to restrict comments and direct messages to hopefully combat the behavior.
“We have a responsibility to make sure everyone feels safe when they’re on Instagram. We don’t allow hate speech or bullying on Instagram, and we remove it whenever we find it,” the statement reads. “We know there’s more to do, including improving our systems to find and remove abusive content more quickly and holding those who post it accountable. We also know that, while we’re committed to doing everything we can to fight hate on our platform, these problems are bigger than us.”
As Lizzo is backed by the tech companies, she is also supported by her collaborator Cardi B and other celebrities who came to her defense. After the “Good As Hell” singer shared an emotional Instagram live broadcast on Aug. 15. As VIBE reported, the Bronx-bred rapper, actress Octavia Spencer and singer Chloe Bailey all stepped in to show Lizzo love.
“Never seek approval from the world because there will always be those waiting to tear you down,” advised Spencer.
“You have power in your voice. thank you for inspiring me,” declared Bailey.
i’m so proud of you @lizzo people are gonna talk, but you have power in your voice. thank you for inspiring me ❤️?
— Chlöe (@ChloeBailey) August 15, 2021
On Wednesday (Aug. 18) Lizzo guested on Good Morning America where she spoke out against bullying and more.
“I don’t mind critiques about me — my music,” she said. “I don’t even mind the fat comments, you know. I just feel like it’s unfair sometimes, the treatment that people like me receive.” She continued, ” “My head is always up. Even when I’m upset and even when I’m crying, my head is up. But I know it’s my job as an artist to reflect at times, and this should not fly. This shouldn’t be okay.”
Watch the interview below: