Memes have become a viral part of the news cycle, as people boil down big stories into pictures or use a joke to help digest an otherwise horrible thing. In the midst of public, digital discussion about Brock Turner, the Stanford rapist who also happened to swim, a meme that simply says "My name is Brock, I'm a rapist" kept mysteriously disappearing off Facebook. A Facebook spokesperson confirmed to Gizmodo that they removed the original post.
Like many a meme, it likely originated on Imgur.
Facebook didn't flag the image for its lack of a proper apostrophe, but for confusion over whether or not it constituted bullying of a "private" individual.
Because people were sharing the post on Facebook, they noticed when it had been taken down.
A user accused Facebook of a sexist double standard, pointing out the same white male privilege many called out after Turner's sentencing.
Facebook admitted to taking the image down, but insisted it was an error. “This content was removed in error, and we are currently working to restore it. Our team processes millions of reports each week, and we sometimes get things wrong. We’re very sorry about this mistake,” a Facebook spokesperson told Gizmodo.
The community standards of Facebook state that they do not tolerate bullying or harassment of private persons, but do “allow you to speak freely on matters and people of public interest.” According to the spokesperson, at the time when the meme was first shared, they were unsure whether Turner qualified as private, until discussion over his sentencing officially launched him into the public sphere.
The original meme has since been reinstated.