By Kym Agius
Controversial Facebook page Blokes Advice has been shut down by the social media giant, however a domestic violence support group which petitioned for its closure fears replacement pages are gaining traction.
Blokes Advice, an invite-only Facebook page which amassed 202,000 followers after it started in Brisbane in May, has been under fire after posts emerged saying women needed to be taught a “lesson”, “gang banged” and punched in the face after oral sex.
Members of the secret group also reportedly posted photos and status updates about raping women, giving out contact details of women and urging other members to send them abusive messages.
Less than a fortnight ago, Facebook removed posts that violated its community standards, but allowed the page to stand as most members were not involved in the offensive content.
A Facebook spokesperson however confirmed on Wednesday that the site had since been taken down.
“Since the recent media coverage of this group, there has been an increase in the number of posts that do violate our policies, and consequently the group has been removed,” he said.
“Where there are a large number of posts in a group that violate our policies, we remove the entire group.”
Thousands follow new sites
The Blokes Advice administration team said it was not told why the site was banned, adding that 3,500 members had come over to its new website, which was off Facebook.
It had also asked its members to donate towards servers, upkeep and an app, and “perhaps a television advertisement”.
“Freedom of speech is not a crime and we do not support anything the extremist groups say we do,” they said in a statement.
“This is a place for blokes to get together and be social and help each other, nothing more, nothing less.”
Domestic violence support group The Red Heart Campaign amassed a petition with 15,000 signatures to close the site.
Organiser Sherele Moody, who received an online death threat, said aside from the website, a new invite-only Blokes Advice Facebook group had also started.
“We’ve seen some of the sexist images of women and other disturbing misogynistic content they’ve been posting on the new site so we’ve decided to keep our petition going until it also disappears,” she said.
“By signing up to this new forum, Australian men will be giving legitimacy to the organisation’s history of demeaning women and inciting violence against them.
“It’s an absolute slap in the face to the one-in-three Australian women who are subjected to male physical violence and it makes a mockery of the memories of each of the 41 Aussie women who have been killed by Australian men this year.
“We will be doing our best to infiltrate this new site and if we find anything that demeans women or invites and encourages any type of abuse against anyone, we will contact the authorities.”
This post originally appeared on ABC News.
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