Facebook has again been accused of censorship – this time by an alleged victim of sex-pest former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo – after the social media giant banned an ad from its site for her new book because it contains the word ‘penis’ in the title.
Karen Hinton, a former Cuomo aide who accused the disgraced governor of bullying and ‘inappropriately’ hugging her 20 years ago, writes about sexism experienced in government in her book, Penis Politics: A Memoir of Women, Men and Power.
Hinton’s publisher had planned to place ads for the book on Facebook, but the word for male genitalia appeared to set off alarm bells and the postings were rejected, she said.
Karen Hinton, pictured with a selection of her favorite books, was planning on launching an ad campaign on Facebook for her memoir but the ads have been rejected because the title of the book has the word penis in it
Hinton aired her grievances with Facebook online saying the actions were ‘not surprising’
Facebook has banned ads on its site for Hinton’s book, which is about sexism in government rather than anything sexual
‘Today Facebook banned ads for my upcoming book Penis Politics because the company objects to the title,’ Hinton told Page Six.
‘Facebook should be ashamed. My book is about toxic power relationships in schools, the media and politics. It’s not about sex.
‘Facebook’s actions are not surprising. The company has a documented history of promoting misogynistic content and sexual violence against women. Yet they are afraid of the word ‘penis’ in a book about sexual harassment.
‘Facebook also employs a double standard which is mind-boggling in 2021. Facebook features pages and pages about the highly acclaimed play, Vagina Monologues.
‘They embrace ‘vagina’ but appear to be scared off by a little ‘penis.’ The advertising campaign on Facebook for my book was supposed to start today.
‘I am calling on Facebook to reverse this decision and stand for free speech, not banning books,’ Hinton railed.
Hinton, who also was an aide to outgoing New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, had previously coined the term ‘penis politics’ to describe ways in which powerful men assert control over women subordinates.
Her memoir is about ‘the toxic brew of ego, entitlement, and bro-culture’ in politics.
Facebook has come under fire for the company’s decision-making on what is suitable for its site, most notably for its ongoing ban of former President Donald Trump.
Karen Hinton, who was an aide for outgoing NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, says her memoir is about ‘the toxic brew of ego, entitlement, and bro-culture’ in politics
Hinton accused Andrew Cuomo of groping her 20 years ago
The company changed its corporate name to Meta last month after whistleblower Frances Haugen, a former product manager at the firm, leaked thousands of internal documents that revealed its inner workings and became known as the Facebook papers.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has rejected her assertions, saying the attacks on the company were ‘misrepresenting’ the work it does.
The tech giant claims it removes 97 per cent of hateful posts from the platform, but leaked research showed its own staff estimated that it only took down posts that generated around 3 to 5 percent of hate speech and 0.6 percent of content that breached its rules on violence and incitement.
Last month, an investigation detailed how Facebook’s algorithms actively promoted content that was misogynistic to certain users.
Both Facebook and Instagram platforms would have pages suggested to users in their feed which referenced sexual violence and disturbing memes about sex acts if they shows signs of hostility toward women online.
Haugen claimed the tech giant was ‘subsidizing hate’ because its business model made it cheaper to run angry and divisive adverts.
She said there was ‘no doubt’ the platform’s systems would drive more violent events because its most extreme content is targeted at the most impressionable people.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg (pictured) has previously rejected the claims made by Frances Haugen, saying her attacks on the company were ‘misrepresenting’ the work it does
She said Facebook was ‘very good at dancing with data’ to make it seem as though it was on top of the problem but was reluctant to sacrifice even a ‘slither of profit’ to make the platform safer.
Zuckerberg spoke about the issue on October 6, saying: ‘The argument that we deliberately push content that makes people angry for profit is deeply illogical.
‘We make money from ads, and advertisers consistently tell us they don’t want their ads next to harmful or angry content. And I don’t know any tech company that sets out to build products that make people angry or depressed. The moral, business and product incentives all point in the opposite direction.’
Earlier this year, Facebook was accused of promoting misogyny and sexual violence.
Female members of Congress together with politicians from the European Union implored Facebook to ‘step up and protect women in politics’ from threats of violence and sexism on its platform.
‘We are imploring Facebook to do more to protect the ability of women to engage in democratic discourse and to foster a safe and empowering space for women,’ read a letter by California Democrat US Rep. Jackie Speier who is also co-chair of the Democratic Women’s Caucus.