QUT students behind ’12 year old sluts’ page

[UPDATE] Page deleted from Facebook

A petition was recently launched to pressure Facebook to remove a page called ’12 year old slut memes.’

The page, used to bully, humiliate, expose and shame young girls had attracted over 200,000 ‘likers.’

Thousands of complaints have been submitted to Facebook via the page’s reporting system and a petition directed to Facebook. Facebook has refused to remove the page, defending it on the grounds of free speech and tagging it as ‘controversial humor.’

It has now emerged that the creators of the page are two 19 year old QUT students from Brisbane. James Silverwood and Dominic Terry are immensely proud of their creation and have continued to defend it.

Due to the amount of legal strife that we have been running into about the group, and the fact that we are just two 19 year old guys that obviously can’t afford a law suit to their name, we have regrettably decided to close the page, permanently.

I know we have lots of devoted fans that come on here to see the countless arguments and dumb sluts trying to justify themselves, sometimes it’s just too personally detrimental to have something like this group and it has to die.

We’ll miss you guys. Thanks for everything guys.

Dom & James.

Nahhhhhh, just gammin’.
As long as there are sluts, we will put them in their place. Keep the submissions coming guys.
We’re not going anywhere. x

 

How Dominic Terry and James Silverwood bully young girls in front of over 200,000 people. We've removed the young girl's image

One wonders what QUT thinks of their students bullying, harassing and shaming little girls to ‘put them in their place.’ QUT has said they are investigating the issue. Since this has come to light James Silverwood’s personal Facebook page has disappeared and references to QUT have been removed from Dominic Terry’s page. A number of photographs have been removed from the offending page although the “12 year old slut memes”  Facebook page is still there.

Of course, this is not enough. The creators of the page – 19 year old men –  need to be held accountable and the page removed. It is never acceptable to target, bully, harass and shame little girls.

QUT responds with Facebook statement

“QUT does not condone exploitative, discriminatory or sexist behaviour. Our policies show clearly that we are committed to the strongest principles of equity and it is disappointing that the university has been associated with such content.

I am sure you would appreciate that QUT has no jurisdiction over the behaviour of its student population independently of their relationship with us, but the university has convenyed its views on these activities to the students.

We are unable to comment further on this situation in social media.”

The 12 Year old Slut Meme and Facebook’s misogyny problem

Hey, Facebook:

  • One in three women on the planet will be raped or beaten in her lifetime
  • Millions of girls and women are murdered in “domestic violence” situations
  • Millions are sold, scarred, tortured, sexually abused and more

For being born female on a planet that tolerates unconscionable levels of violence against half of the humans that live on it.

So? What does this have to do with Facebook? Turns out a whole lot, because there is no being neutral in this situation. You either help change it or you actively tolerate it and encourage the perpetrators of violence by doing so.

Earlier this week I wrote about how the use of photography (especially without the subject’s consent) intensifies harassment, abuse and violence against women. Quicker than I could type “Feministe” this Change.org petition appeared in my inbox: “Please sign to remove 12 Year Old Slut Memes from Facebook.” One of the offending page’s profile photos is of a pink-lipped and pouty child (she looks a lot younger than 12) wearing a tank top that reads “I love COCK.” Now, anyone can create a page in Facebook (published at Facebook’s discretion) and this page doesn’t openly advocate violence against 12-year-old sluts. It is, however, the virtual equivalent of street harassment and, as such, demonstrates the way the photography serves to exponentially magnify the effects of subtle and real violence along a broad spectrum. Read entire article here.

Sign the petition calling on Facebook to remove ’12 year old slut memes’

http://www.change.org/en-AU/petitions/please-sign-to-remove-12-year-old-slut-meme-s-facebook

 Contact Queensland University of Technology

https://www.facebook.com/QUTBrisbane

[UPDATE]

Courier Mail – Degrading Facebook page created by Queensland university students shut down

QUT students, creators of banned ’12-year-old sluts’ Facebook page, vow to return

Morons or crusaders? The two Brisbane university students behind a controversial Facebook account that was shut down yesterday have vowed to return to “uncover other problems in society”.

Created under the names of Queensland University of Technology students James Silverwood and Dom Terry, the page published photos of young girls posing in pictures that had been already posted on the social media site on their own pages.

These pictures were then branded with lewd tags and posted on the crudely named “12-year-old sluts” page.

It urged the public to leave comments, and implored others to post their own pictures. Read complete article here.

The Facebook page mentioned in an ABC 7.30 report.

Watch the program at this link: Facebook pages reveal not so social media

Australian Communications and Media Authority response

One of our supporters made a complaint to the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) and received this response:

The internet content specified in your complaint has been found to be hosted outside Australia. The ACMA is therefore required to take action in accordance with Schedule 5 to the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (the BSA).

Further, following investigation of your complaint, the ACMA:

· Found that the content was potential prohibited content, in accordance with the definitions under clause 21 to Schedule 7 of the BSA.

· Referred the content to the makers of Internet Industry Association (IIA) approved filters.

· Referred the content to the appropriate law enforcement agency.

Despite media reports suggesting that Facebook had banned the page, this is not the case. It is clear that it was the two men who opted to close the page, not Facebook. Prior to closing the page the two men had posted a message stating their intention to close it along with a pathetic attempt at justifying their behaviour. We believe it was the increased media attention, reports of an investigation from the Australian Federal Police, their University and parents being notified of their behaviour that ultimately caused the two men to close the page.

Since this page was closed, several other identical pages have been created by ‘anonymous’ users. Facebook refuses to take these pages down, instead tagging them with [Controversial Humor]. According to Facebook, a page set up to facilitate bullying and harassment of little girls does not violate its policy:

Thanks for your recent report of a potential violation on Facebook. After reviewing your report, we were not able to confirm that the specific page you reported violates Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities.

We will continue putting pressure on Facebook to enforce its terms of use.

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10 Comments

  1. Tanya
    Posted 28 Sep ’12 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    Hang on. What does being a QUT student have to do with their behaviour? Encouraging universities to take responsibility for student’s behavious sets a dangerous precedent. Universities teach us how to think, not what to think and are no more responsible for these boys’ attitudes than their choice of fast food restaurant, or footwear.

    • Nicole
      Posted 28 Sep ’12 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

      Tanya – QUT is not necessarily responsible for their students’ behaviour, but they do have a responsibility to ensure that their students are held to their established code of conduct. For example, did these guys use QUT IT resources at any point when creating or maintaining this page? QUT could not possibly have investigated this in such a short period of time. It could also be said that their actions bring the university into disrepute, which is also an item for which students may be disciplined. QUT has an obligation to its own students, staff, and the wider community to take this issue seriously.

  2. Posted 11 Oct ’12 at 10:32 pm | Permalink

    A news article about these appalling pages on FB, in case you have’t yet seen it: http://au.news.yahoo.com/a/-/latest/15097393/disturbing-facebook-pages-operating-with-impunity/

  3. Aunty M
    Posted 16 Nov ’12 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

    Unfortunately we live in the day and age where 2 immature idiots can say what they like by useing public media. This new found public media having no scruples whatsover and takes no responsibility for how it is used. This unfortunately is what Facebook is all about in the end. I have heard nothing but grief come from it. Personally we choose not to be sucked into the sickness. Unforunately the internet in general has never been policed from the start and this is the result. Television has also declined dramatically in censorship.
    I am wondering if 19 year old boys are actually in charge of everything at the moment! Complaints to any of these institutions seem to fall on deaf ears.
    Just wondering also if they have mothers, sisters, grandmothers or female cousins? They must be so proud.

    • Damon
      Posted 21 Jan ’13 at 11:57 pm | Permalink

      First of all these two ‘vigilantes’ have taken full responsibility of their Facebook page. They did not make the page with fake names, nor did they avoid comment from traditional media. The particular branding of the images and the comments left on the page are understandably offensive, but the fact is the images themselves are not original. These images and screenshots are observations of content posted by the individual girls. Particular screenshots of status updates by some of these underaged girls asking for ‘likes’ to make pornographic videos of themselves is simply outrageous and, in fact, criminal. If my little sister had posted such content on Facebook for everyone in the world to access, I think for me to then turn around and target someone who has shed light on this behaviour would be immoral and grossly irresponsible.

      To say that the internet is not policed is a gross misjudgement. The fact that these images are voluntarily published by the people who they feature, and many times even make the comments that drive the offensive messages that the images depict is particularly why these pages are not in violation of Facebook policies. You also said that complaints to media outlets are falling on deaf ears, this is simply not true. I have seen the good work Collective Shout have achieved, on numerous occasions, in questioning censorship judgements that expose young women.

      The extent of the neglect in governance of media publication by underaged members of our society is perfectly exemplified by the recent YouTube video posted by an underaged SNIP Facebook pages immediately started to spring up in response. The responses, at times, may have crossed into the classification of bullying, but most of the time it was simply because the international online community was disgusted and outraged that such a video was produced.

      Perhaps the target for censorship, in this case, should be initially set on these vulnerable members of our society. For us as a community to not fight the outlets that observe and comment on these images and ideas, but the initial production of them to begin with. Even though such Facebook sites as ’12 year old slut memes’ do target members of our community who are defenceless, the fact that no attention is paid to the initial publication of illicit images by these girls is baffling. How can people target groups that expose a serious problem within our society without targeting the problem itself?

    • Team CS
      Posted 22 Jan ’13 at 8:18 am | Permalink

      Damon,

      Are you serious? You believe grown men should be allowed to exploit young girls? You’re talking about these guys as though they have provided some sort of public service. These men have not ‘shed light’ on anything other than their own despicable predatory behaviour.

      Lets not pretend that these two men are anything other than predators and bullies, using the images of girls for their own entertainment. They were not providing a public service, they were not proving a point about “girls these days.” What they did is exploit a problem – young people posting images and footage on the internet – and use it for their own entertainment. They exploited young girls, they subjected them to bullying and harassment. What sort of grown man does that? Posting an image of a girl, alongside an image of the page owners pretending to vomit, is not a public service to “expose a serious problem,” it is disgusting behaviour from grown men towards underage girls. The men acted in a predatory way, regularly inviting Facebook users to submit photos to them for sharing and mockery.

      Damon, you and some others, seem to think that 12 year old girls should know better than 19 year old men. This is what is truly baffling. 12 year olds, by virtue of their age, are not capable of understanding the consequences of their actions. 12 year old girls are not able to deal with being targeted by adult men and subjected to bullying by thousands of people on the internet, not even adults could cope with that. 19 year old QUT students should know better and they are also old enough to be charged as an adult.

      I’ve edited your comment to remove the mention of a young girl by name. This forum will not be used to further humiliate a vulnerable girl.

    • Damon
      Posted 22 Jan ’13 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

      To begin with, the girl that should not be mentioned by name – her name is currently trending on Twitter with close association with names coined in relation to the video she created. Even though there is international outcry within the online community regarding this video, her reaction is little more than amusement and achievement, with comments on her Facebook and Twitter, such as “well I’m somewhat famous”. This voluntary exploitation of ones self for attention and acknowledgement, and in this girl’s case fame, is specifically what I am trying to outline as a serious point of interest that we can not ignore. These two ‘grown men’ definitely have some moral questions to answer to as their actions prove to be little more than for the purpose of entertainment, resulting in a blatant exploitation of these girls, but the fact remains that even when the issue is pointed out many of these girls are enjoying the attention of heightened likes and comments on their photos.

      What I want to know is why have these girls parents not stood in and stopped such media production and circulation? The fact that the internet is such a powerful media production tool is not something that a much younger generation can comprehend, keeping in mind that they have grown up with such technologies. It should be the responsibility of a generation who understands the power of this technology to teach appropriate internet practices to these girls. I spoke with my little sister, who is now 17, about this matter. She said that the endeavour to increase likes and comments on photos drives these girls to all kinds of lengths, the worst part being such a page that ‘shames’ this practice is, in fact, counterproductive, giving the girls exactly what they want: more likes and comments. For these girls the common saying in the media industry “All publicity is good publicity” is really what they are honing in on; any attention is good attention. Again I must ask, where are the parents? The gatekeepers who these girls rely on for moral direction? If a young girl posts a post such as “now auditioning for a baby daddy” I think it’s about time that someone steps in and explains what is appropriate for a young girl to post.

      I feel that your reply to my comments came across with much agrivation. I am trying to not defend the practices of shaming and bullying, but honestly do parents know what their daughters are doing on the internet? The fact that these images and posts make it to the internet leads to the assumption that the parents do not, which is a dangerous thought. If such content had circulated about my little sister I would want so badly for it to have been some kind of prank that had been played on her, for the sheer fact that I would have no words for the amount of embarrassment I would feel for her. The fact that these images are not pranks, but self published content and nothing is done by family or friends of these girls to have them removed means there is no one in their lives that is willing to take that kind of responsibility or care for them. What I am trying to do is ask whether the witch hunt will really achieve the ultimate goal? What I am trying to ask is whether two guys who receive these exploitative photos and comments are really the source of the problem?

    • Team CS
      Posted 22 Jan ’13 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

      Hi Damon,

      Her name may well be trending on twitter, but we’re not going to contribute to the problem by posting personal details of an underage girl here.

      At Collective Shout we are well aware of the problem of young people posting inappropriate things on the internet. We, and many of our colleagues, already do a lot of work in this area.

      But I do wonder why you are so quick to blame girls (or their parents) for what happens to their image once online, in the process glossing over the actions of the men who should never have taken advantage of them in the first place. There are more than moral questions to answer for those who target children like this, there are potential criminal charges.

      You blame the girls for wanting ‘likes’ and attention, but isn’t this exactly what two grown men were wanting for themselves when they created this page? Not only have they exploited a social problem and therefore exploited girls, they too have tried to excuse their bad behaviour by turning the focus on to the behaviour of the girls. But is posting a photograph of yourself in a bikini on Facebook really comparable with sharing that image without permission, to 200000 followers with the label “slut”, encouraging bullying and possible stalking?

      You ask what the ultimate goal is for challenging exploitation of girls – a criminal charge would be good, and a strong message to others that child exploitation is against the law. Yes, men like this are the source of the problem. We should not confuse men’s willingness to exploit girls, with the social problem of unsafe use of the internet.

      PS If my comment came across as ‘aggravated’, I am. I am aggravated by men who behave like this, and by those who seem to think that calling out their behaviour is a ‘witch hunt’.

      - Melinda Liszewski on behalf of Collective Shout

  4. Lee
    Posted 22 Jan ’13 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    There’s always someone willing to stand up and attempt to defend the indefensible.

    Do you actually have a little sister, Damon? I find it hard to believe that you do. Or that if she were manipulated into posting compromising pictures of herself online, and a pack of guys found it and circulated it to make sure she really learned her lesson, you would champion their community service. If she was raped, would you ask her what she was wearing? What she had been drinking? Why she left the house in the first place? How many excuses would you make for her attackers?

    Comments like yours make me genuinely sick. Grow up, and stop paving the way for arrogant man-boys like Silverwood and Terry to ruin the lives of children for cheap laughs.

    • Damon
      Posted 22 Jan ’13 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

      Have you read my post?

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  1. [...] half of the show I speak with Melinda Tankard Reist about the sexualization of young girls, the 12 year old slut meme Facebook page, and the Amanda Todd tragedy. Melinda is a Canberra author, speaker, media commentator, and [...]

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