Facebook Refuses to Remove Group Promoting Anti-Cyclist Violence

bike_hate_1.gifScreenshot from the Facebook group promoting dooring, among other acts that injure cyclists.

A
number of Streetsblog readers have noticed a particularly loathsome
group that has sprouted up on Facebook and has a legion of fans. As of
this writing, more than 32,000 people are fans of "There’s a perfectly good bike path right next to the road you stupid cyclist,"
a group page with a bunch of anti-cyclist screeds and some pretty nasty
photos of bicycle crashes and car-on-bike violence. Facebook has
concluded that the group does not violate the site’s terms of use and
will not shut it down.

"It’s a stupid and offensive joke and unfortunately there are still
people who don’t see that bicyclists have the same rights as
everyone else," said Marc Caswell, Program Manager at the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition. "It’s a cruel example of the
ignorance of cyclists’ rights. We would encourage people to report it
as offensive."

The
site is full of the vitriol one has come to expect online and in
anonymous comment sections, but unlike blogs or online forums, all the
fuming leaves a clear path to the users who posted it.

The first user to link the group was from Australia, and several of the references to road rules
are of British provenance or from former British colonies. In the
"About Me" section, it reads: "No matter how far to the left you are,
you’re taking up my road. My car is hard, and i am not slowing down!"

bike_hate_2A photo from a road race on June 3, 2008 in Mexico, when a drunk driver killed one cyclist and injured more than ten others. Posted to the group by Sean Tysoe

In addition to creating a counter group called "HELP REMOVE this HATE GROUP against cyclists!",
a number of cyclists have become fans of the original group and have
posted agitprop in the form of bicycle photos. While there are
disturbing photos of cars creaming cyclists and road signs promoting
violence against cyclists, the photo album is full of pictures of the
kind of bike porn you might expect on Bike Blog or Fixed Gear Gallery. And there are easily as many photos of "Share the Road" signs as the opposite.

Streetsblog asked Facebook whether this group violates their Terms of Use, particularly sections 6 and 7, under
"Safety":

6. You will not bully, intimidate, or harass any user.
7.
You will not post content that is hateful, threatening, pornographic,
or that contains nudity or graphic or gratuitous violence.

Facebook’s
Simon Axten told us the group has been reviewed and deemed kosher by
the company’s staff. Presumably the reason they are not removing this
group boils down to how one interprets the phrase "actionable threats
of violence." Here’s Axten’s explanation:

We
take our Statement of Rights and Responsibilities very seriously and
react quickly to remove reported content that violates our policies.
Specifically, we’re sensitive to content that includes hate speech
and/or actionable threats of violence. The goal of these policies is to
strike a very delicate balance between giving Facebook users the
freedom to express their opinions and beliefs, even controversial ones,
and maintaining a safe and trusted environment.

We’ve reviewed
this group and determined that it doesn’t violate our policies.  We
encourage users to report anything they feel does violate these
policies using the report links located throughout the site. Thanks.

law_of_physics.jpgPosted to the group by Chelsea Kerr

Any legal minds care to comment?

H/T Bike Portland.

  • Thanks for the quick write up.

  • what morons. how are they any different than any other banned facebook hate group? Don’t count on FB to do anything though – they could care less.

  • peternatural

    Bunch of kindergarten drop-outs.

  • Pierre Avignon

    Hey, that’s not very fair to kindergarteners! 😀

  • the greasybear

    What is it about automobiles that turns human beings into rageful monsters?

  • Michael P.

    “Actionable” means you have enough information to sue them over it. Since these “threats of violence” aren’t specific to any person, no one would have standing to sue. Something like that.

    IANAL, blah blah.

  • We’ve gotten a response from Facebook and updated the story.

  • How is “my car is hard and I’m not slowing down” NOT “actionable threats of violence”?

  • patrick

    I wonder, if one of the fans actually did hit somebody on a bike, would facebook then be liable?

    Ultimately the attitude is nothing new, and I don’t really care if facebook takes it down or not, these people will continue to be a-holes.

  • Andy

    Apparently facebook hates trucknutz though, seeing as my two trucknutz photos were removed fairly promptly with no exact reason given.

  • Jason Bentley

    Oh, somebody call Michael Arrington. Sounds like another Facebook-won’t-coddle-my-sensitivity “scandale.” Does Facebook really have to be a milquetoast niceville before people will stop the bedwetting?

  • NoeValleyJim

    Check out the photos and comments in the group, it is pretty funny most of them are pro-bicycling.

  • BikerDude

    If it stays up and one of the owners or fans DOES hit someone on a bike in real life, this could show pre-meditation and make penalties more serious. Yes?

  • Brian

    What a ridiculous suggestion to remove that group. It’s doing no harm to anyone. Perhaps some should take their attempts at censorship with them and live in China. They’d really like it there.

  • In response to the greasybear (comment #5), I think it is apparent that unbridled power turns humans into rageful monsters. Just like the wall posting suggests: his car is very big, your bike is very small. Therefore, he can bully you.

    Just like the saying, “guns don’t kill people, people with guns do”, the auto driver can acquire a distorted, bigoted attitude due to the sheer size & ability of their vehicles. Take away the gasoline that propels their heavy steel — the source of their power — and these people would have no confidence out on the road, no mobility. That is a comforting thought.

  • Jym

    =v= Perhaps Facebookers should flood the group with news articles about Christopher Thompson going to prison.

  • Dr. Thompson just got five years for the taunting of cyclists that went wrong. This type of “joking” can go too far very quickly. FB should remove the page. End of story.

  • The fact that they have a rule against bullying and don’t enforce it shows what Facebook is really about. They don’t care about rules really, they care about there own bottom line. That is the reason they continue to change their policies (no respect for rules, too interested in traffic to site.) I am canceling my account with them immediately not just because of this but also because Facebook has no conscience, respect, or decency. Facebook only cares about Facebook.

  • Paul

    It’s an extreme reaction but nothing shocking. The group spawned because people are sick of bicyclists and the way they act on the road, not just in the bay area. If they gave pedestrians and cars a measure of respect and call me crazy, actually obeyed the stop signs, stop lights and other basic rules of the road this might not exist. I ride bike and I’m damned careful when I’m out there, I wish the majority of the others were too.

    I’ve been in a car and on foot in the city during Critical Mass(holes) and nearly run down walking across the street more than once. I’ve sat at a stoplight for 5-10 minutes at a time because suddenly they all have an infinite green. Worse is the time and money of the police being spent to protect and coddle when citations need to be written and people arrested for doing things a driver in a car would get a ticket or go to jail for or a pedestrian would get killed doing.

    Bicyclists are not some deity’s gift and blessing upon a city and the way they act they usually are seconds from becoming a smear on the road. Respect people, it’s a give and take thing.

  • mike s

    Facebook makes money off of the advertisements that appear on the page. When you see a bike related do a ctrl print screen and email, paste it to an email or a word doc and email it to the advertiser.

    Ask them respectfully of they support hate groups aimed at cyclists.

    If advertisers start pulling ads and money then maybe facebook will wake up

  • the greasybear

    Oh, look at Paul defending a hate group…yeah, it’s all about respect, and how cyclists alone deserve none. Cuz people on bikes are bad–unlike our saintly motorists.

    Perhaps if cyclists murdered 40,000 Americans annually the way motorists do, we’d earn motorists’ respect? Or maybe if we caused a hundred thousand other injury accidents? Chose to knowingly pollute the water, air and soil and warm the planet while growing progressively more obese and diabetic inside our little rage-cages? Does respect flow from such behavior alongside the bloodshed and destruction?

    Paul–maybe it’s not about respect at all, this Facebook hate group advocating violence against people on bicycles.

  • facebook_account_deleted

    after 4 years, this is the final straw. goodbye facebook, smell you later.

    it would be one thing if the facebook management simply hadn’t noticed or responded to the inquiry about this hate group… the fact that they responded and did nothing says it all.

    and yes, advocating dooring and ramming humans on the street IS violence.

    paul: this issue is not a question of respect. it is about condoning sociopathic behavior.

  • rucker

    Right on, Paul. And ignore greasy bear who obviously didn’t actually understand your post. Not all bicyclists, but a huge and annoying portion of them show no respect for pedestrians. Mention to one of them that they shouldn’t be riding their bikes on the sidewalk, running red lights, block the crosswalk, etc., and you get insults, mockery, the finger, and threats. And Critical Mass was about nothing but thuggery. Do they really think this Facebook page was created without provocation by rude bicycle riders?

  • Paul

    Oh silly greasybear I simply stated how the group most likely came into being, I didn’t defend it. There’s some angry and hateful speech but it’s mainly people venting their frustrations with how cyclists behave badly. Both motorists and cyclists have their share of miscreants and other less than desirables but the later definitely stand out a lot more. Until there is equal respect you’re always going to see things like this pop up online.

    It’s unfortunate in this case but you have the aspect of free speech which allows all people to voice their opinions, even when it’s something you don’t like.

  • here_come_the_yokels

    just a warning — the chronicle (sfgate) has linked into this story.

    expect a tide of bigoted comments in 3…. 2….. 1…

    (what is it with the sfgate commenters, anyway?)

  • missdk

    Both motorists and cyclists have their share of miscreants, but the ones behind the wheel will kill you.

  • Travis A. Wittwer

    There will always be ignorant people and these people will always collect together as a way to convince that their ignorance (arrogance) is not ignorance.

    And there will always be people that see the ignorance for what it is. Stupid.

    The FB page probably does follow the rights of conduct for FB.

    But like most ignorant people, I will ignore them and move on. They disappear after awhile. Remember Dice Clay?

  • Jym

    =v= No surprise that SFGate linked here. I thought the ignorance and hatefulness smelled familiar. Expect the usual idiocy about bicyclists not paying for roads, mentions of Spandex, and the oh-so-original witticism about Critical “Mess.” That stuff gets funnier every time it’s repeated.

    Right now they’re busy in the SFGate story about the road-raging doctor. They spell brakes “breaks.” A lot.

  • We always try to keep our comments board respectful, no matter who links to us. Please follow suit; it makes our jobs a lot easier.

  • Eh, people are assholes on the internet. Not terribly surprising. The best way to get back at these people is to walk, bike, and take public transit. Bring your kids! Invite your friends!

  • I hate to say “told ya so” that Facebook wouldn’t do shit. They don’t give a damn. They are just glad people think they’re using some cool new tool to organize when in fact it’s the privatization of personal data so they can someday resell it.

    Take heart in the fact that like every other social network, the moment the oldsters jump on board, the kids leave, and in a few years Facebook will be the MySpace of 2012.

  • On Facebook’s Terms, it says:

    “Pages are special profiles that may only be used to promote a business or other commercial, political, or charitable organization or endeavor (including non-profit organizations, political campaigns, bands, and celebrities).”

    This particular page violates that rule, from how I’m interpreting it.

  • jerk

    GOOD.

    the more these idiots understand that cars are bigger than they are, and that CARS HURT WHEN THEY PLOW INTO YOU, the sooner we can move on with life.

  • As much as I loathe the attitude, it’s free speech. You’re either for it or against it. Where it gets tricky is the whole “is it hate speech” argument. I’m content to let them have their forum. The more reasonable people that hear about it, bikers or not, the more it hurts their “cause.” Remember, the vast majority of car users go about their business and interact with cyclists in a lawful, if not polite way. Those same car drivers don’t want to be associated with a bunch of wackoes.

  • peternatural

    When I go to a public park, the first thing I do is push everyone else out of the place because IT’S MY PARK AND I’M NOT SHARING!!!

    (It’s justified because I saw a guy litter one time 😉

  • Goatbiker

    I’ll bet if I posted “my bullet is hard and I WILL share it”, they would take it down.

    How is threatening to strike a driver with a half-ounce bullet worse that threatening to strike a cyclist with a 3000 pound car?

    Just askin’.

  • Ben

    Yay… more humor a the sake of violence! Hold on to you hate for more groups like.
    “I have testosterone so thus I’m going to beat my wife”
    “You took the toy i wanted at the retail store so I’m going to shoot you”
    “You cut me off on the highway, my car is hard and I’m going to ram you”
    “There is a perfectly good place for a woman, the kitchen!”
    “My ***** is hard so I’m going to rape you!”
    “You coughed in the movie theater, so here is a foot to the back of the head”
    “There is a perfectly good place for everyone else in the world, not in front of me because I”m more important.”
    “My car is more expensive than yours so get out of my way.”
    “I’m more important than you so get out of my way.”

    People are scumbags

    p.s. I do love that its on facebook and you can see these peoples names! Spend some time and browse through the most…adamant…. of posters and see what prize citizens they are.

  • Charles Pelkey

    Okay, so Facebook won’t take it down. That’s fine. Look at the bright side, folks. If any of these bozos is ever charged with assaulting a cyclist with a car, at least a good prosecutor can try to introduce his “friendship” of this group as evidence of motive and intent.

  • Trucker Jimmy

    Maybe some of those car idiots wanna play bumper tag with this cyclist’s 80k lb Tri-Axle truck? If they think they’re sooo bad in their big heavy cars, try my 40 ton truck, it’s bigger heavier and far far “Badder!” and with a cyclist at the wheel! I have blocked some cars before after watching them harass cyclists and have slowed them down to the point of a crawl to allow cyclists to get by/around safely. simple fact, by law, cyclists have a LEGAL right to the road and the car driver has a LEGAL OBLIGATION to provide room for the cyclist. I hope those idiots on that page find themselves facing a few of my cycling teammates who are State/Local?County police officers!

  • bonerfaust

    don’t you hate bikes?!?!

  • jim

    -not (because I know some douche is going to point that out and think it is a winning argument.)

  • Keith – Hermosa

    I have ridden MANY thousands of miles in the last 25 years, and I also walk and run almost daily. Some significant portion of cyclists in Southern CA are complete garbage. They do not stop for Stop signs. They do not give right of way to pedestrians. And they intentionally block traffic, seemingly just to act like willful little bitches. I see this every single weekend! Why?

    Instead of whining about cars, which in my opinion should be taxed to death in favor of better forms of transportation, biking groups should make it clear that bikers who do not respect the rules of the road and the rules of common decency are not welcome at any group events. I am a biker, and I hate these inconsiderate asses, and I am embarrassed that I might be grouped with them.

    Take some responsibility. Blame the trouble makers, not people’s reaction to the trouble makers.

  • jtr

    Greg, the expression is “couldN’T care less”. Just sayin’.

  • dexradio

    Regrettably the only way this will ever cause a positive response from FB is if the cycling community mobilise and leave FB in there 1000’s in protest. I suspect it will never happen though as FB have embedded themselves in many peoples daily lives to facilitate social networking, and many are addicted to it. I’m not a fan of the site myself, preferring Twitter, where I heard about this issue in the first place.

    You have to hurt them where it hurts, and thats subscriber numbers. But can you only imagine if it could build momentum? Wow, that would be something to see. The power of the people in action!

    Dex.

  • Robert Z

    Let me explain the problem with bikes on the road.
    1: You are too fragile and hard to see, and this makes driving stressful.
    2: You slow down traffic, by not going at the speed traffic is flowing, and cars have to trickle by you one by one, slowing everyone down and making driving stressful, again.
    3: Many who ride bikes don’t feel the rules apply to them, weaving between cars in heavy traffic, ignoring signs and traffic signals, and making everyone pissed off, and once again, stressed out.

    When any of these concerns are brought up, in my experience they are usually given a retort along the lines of “People driving cars are fat asses who pollute and are too lazy to walk or ride a bike. We’re the ones who should be allowed on the road, not these gas guzzlers who never graduated 1st grade”.

    As much as ad hominem stupidities and self-righteousness endear you to the people, perhaps actually giving a damn about automobile drivers legitimate concerns and trying to find equitable solutions (as in our concerns as well as yours are dealt with) might get you somewhere further than simply Green snobbery and arrogance. As for this Facebook group, its completely legitimate and does not violate terms of use at all, whether you find it offensive or not.

  • Paul

    Lol @ bicyclists acting like they’re suddenly a racial minority facing discrimination by “THE MAN!!!” Guess what? You don’t get to automatically remove something from existence simply because you happen to find it offensive. Cry more.

  • CTD

    OK, so bike riders who have a problem with some ignorant ass revving up other ignorant asses are crybabies, eh? Paul, if that was a family member of yours who got racked in SF last summer, you’d feel different.

    Robert Z, of the three things you listed as to why bikes are a problem, only #3 applies. Driving is stressful because you’re operating a 3000-lb machine at high speed alongside 5000 other idiots doing the same thing; the essence of driving is a requirement to operate that machine safely, and YOU are the one operating it. If all you had to deal with on the road was what you EXPECTED, or CHOSE TO ALLOW, you wouldn’t need insurance, would you?

    Yep, there are idiot assholes on the road riding bikes; there are idiot assholes driving cars, too. I don’t hear too many of you loudmouths calling for tougher testing to keep stupid drivers off the road! WTF is up with that?

    Yep, your car is hard; so is your head, if you think that gives you any special status. Hit me with it, and you’d BETTER kill me, otherwise I will OWN your family for three generations.

  • The photo in the article,”My Way…,” resulted in the death of a human being at the hands of a drunk driver (on a closed course, by the way). How can FB possibly say that picture doesn’t violate their Terms of Use: “You will not post content that is hateful, threatening, pornographic, or that contains nudity or graphic or gratuitous violence.” If that’s not graphic violence, what is? I’ve reported the photo, but it’s obviously still there. I realize there’s little hope that the group will be shut down, but the picture has to go.

  • Mike L.

    Yes, there are idiots who are driving cars, riding bikes, running, etc. There are also very responsible, reasonable people doing all of those things.

    In my opinion, the page directly violates Facebook policies and they ought to enforce them. As for free speech, Facebook is a private corporation and can moderate their website; if the government were to suddenly go around patrolling the internet and getting rid of everything deemed politically incorrect, we would have a much larger, more important problem on our hands.

  • Zeke

    Seriously? Seriously? It’s obviously not a hate group. I’ve looked it over. It looks like a group made by someone who got ticked off by some cyclists. If they were starting rally’s and promoting violence (i.e. “Today if you see a cyclist RUN THEM OVER”) or something like that then I could see it.

    Reading through some of these posts, some of you “cyclists” have a high and mighty “I’m better than you cause I bike” attitude. Maybe that’s why people don’t like you? Just sayin.

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