The “Me Too” campaign was launched 10 years ago, by Tarana Burke, to unify sexual assault survivors in underprivileged communities. But Alyssa Milano set off the current trend of people sharing “Me Too” on social media if they have been sexually harassed or sexually abused. Milano was prompted to start the online campaign after witnessing the tremendous number of allegations surrounding Harvey Weinstein’s rampant sexual assault. And while it’s supposed to be a statement that brings people of all genders together, one Facebook user is concerned that not enough men are seeing the message.
While many of our Facebook and Twitter feeds are sadly filled with “Me too” statements from friends, family members, and acquaintances, Facebook user Lauren Stephenson noted that her brother-in-law’s Facebook feed had a shockingly dismal amount of references to the #MeToo movement.
There are a number of reasons that Stephenson had to scroll for five minutes before she DIDN’T see a #MeToo post, and that her brother-in-law Dan Shapiro only saw mentions after scrolling for eight minutes.
As Facebook explains on its Help page about its News Feed:
But even with understanding how the News Feed works, it’s still disconcerting to see the lack of Me Too posts on a user’s page — especially a male user’s page — when the point of the movement is to, as Stephenson wrote, “Expose an important issue to those who are not yet aware of it.” Plus, the Los Angeles Times reported that, “More than a quarter-million people were discussing #MeToo on Facebook around midday Monday” on October 16th.
Yet other male Facebook users wrote in the comments that they had as many Me Too posts as Stephenson, so this doesn’t seem intentional on Facebook’s part.
Rather than start a Facebook conspiracy, we can look to Stephenson’s post as an example of how all social media platforms are tailored to the specific user. In other words, you might not be getting the entire picture of a particular issue if you only pay attention to social media.
If you personally don’t think you’re getting the full scope of the #MeToo posts on Facebook, you can choose to show “Most Recent” instead of “Top Stories” in the News Feed settings to help remedy this (a function that Stephenson erroneously noted wasn’t available). Or look to users outside of your social group who make their stories public.
As always, encourage others to listen to and be allies of people who are bravely sharing their stories of sexual abuse. And remember that you’ll have to go outside of your comfort zone — and your News Feed — to help influence real and lasting change when it comes to sexual harassment and assault.