The last few days have been interesting.

I was made aware of a thread on a Facebook group where people, some I’ve never even heard of, took it upon themselves to “Facebook slander” me. This was a small group of contributors to a larger main group, which currently has over 54,000 members.

Sorry, but I’m not about to let that one go.

Facebook slander – being slandered in a private facebook group

It was a Friday lunchtime, I was walking around Liverpool City Centre looking for a small gift I could surprise Evelyn with when I got home (bribery, basically). My phone buzzed and I got a message from a friend:

“Did you tweet about that shampoo advert that had the model with a hijab on it?”

Oh god. I did. And people had jumped on it to show the most nauseating display of virtue signalling you can imagine. Essentially, I think it’s a daft idea to have a shampoo advert showing someone with their hair covered. I likened it to a car advert showing a locked garage, or a teeth-whitening advert showing a person with a closed mouth. My reaction would have been the same if it was a bike helmet being worn instead of a hijab. It’s my opinion on a daft ad, nothing more, nothing less.

The question

My friend sent me a screenshot from within the facebook group. It was a woman in there asking if she was being irrational by wanting to write a blog post about my shampoo-ad tweet (yes, by the way). She stressed that I’d irritated her with my breastfeeding post – this was a mammoth c.3000 word post, but it was this one line that had irritated the woman:

“If your child starts bringing their friends home for dinner, it’s probably time to stop breastfeeding”

Now, I stand by this. But this woman was breastfeeding her 7-year old son at the time (her choice, regardless of what you and I think), so this line irked her. I’ve always respected this woman, she does a lot to raise mental health awareness, I didn’t realise we had an issue.

Her questions in the group invited comments, some from people I’d never heard of before. As flattering luck would have it, they’d heard of me, but I’m not sure they’re going to want me to sign their anger-management manuals any time soon.

The tweets

Perhaps my next actions were impulsive, but I took the screenshots and I tweeted two of these people individually to ask what their issue was. People don’t like that. People hyperventilate if you do that. The intrinsic nastiness of some people does battle with their sense of blog-preservation and they’re not sure whether to double down or backpedal the shit out of there.

I tweeted these people to ask what their issue was. People hate this. Their intrinsic nastiness does battle with their sense of blog-preservation, they're unsure whether to double down or backpedal the shit out of there Click To Tweet

Oh the betrayal!

The group was up in arms. The founder was disgusted that they couldn’t bad-mouth someone in safety. How dare someone let me know they were talking about me in such a bad way! My friend got kicked out the group and has received abuse in private messages since. A warm and motherly post was made from the founder. She was appalled that such disloyalty had been demonstrated here, on this group of all places. They pride themselves on being non-judgmental and supportive after all. How dare this person place her loyalty with me rather than them?

One comment made me laugh out loud:

“OMG who would take a screenshot from a private group conversation?? That’s horrendous”

That’s right – someone was disgusted that they were unable to slander someone without worrying about them finding out. Another user claimed she was “so done with humans”. I’m sorry for her.

The founder vowed to deal with the “Twitter storm” which, let’s be honest, was a mere drizzle with a total of 2 tweets.

It continues…

The phrase “courts controversy” has been used so many times in this whole thing about me.

Listen, I voice my opinions. I always will. If someone disagrees then usually they tell me and we debate it, I learn a lot through this and I’m willing to be persuaded. I’m not in it for the “clicks and traffic” – they don’t translate to anything tangible for me. Aside from the odd review, I don’t earn anything from this. A fact I exploit to, you know, be myself.

“Misogynist” is another word that’s thrown around too. I’d love to know what this is based on. Most of my friends online are female, the vast majority in fact.

I’ve recently raised £100 towards an electric wheelchair for a mum-to-be on Twitter, and then matched that with £100 of my own money. That’s an expensive mask to don for a misogynist, don’t you think?

I've recently raised £100 towards an electric wheelchair for a mum-to-be on Twitter, and then matched that with £100 of my own money. That's an expensive mask to don for a misogynist, don't you think? Click To Tweet

What if it wasn’t about me?

What if these comments were made about someone who would take it to heart? What if someone suffered from anxiety or depression and they saw they were being slated in a private Facebook group? What if someone had been bullied relentlessly for a good portion of their life? Imagine them seeing it happen again online by a bunch of people they never knew existed, in a group that prides itself on support.

It’s sad when the only reason for people doing it is the lack of ability to understand what the person writes. I get it, though – it’s easier just to run with the idea that the person is clearly “a prick” rather than make your own mind up.

Welcome to blogging Facebook groups, people. Supportive, safe places.

I can still see, by the way

Funnily enough, since my friend has been kicked out of the group I’ve had more people send me screenshots, and other messages asking if I knew about it. I’d read enough when I saw the founder of the group implying I was gaining sexual gratification from the abuse they were handing out. Nice parenting group you have there…

I’ve made it clear I’m not really interested in any more screenshots or copy/paste jobs, so consider your stabilisers back on and your hands held once again. Think about this for a second, though. Why would such a despicable person have so many friends willing to tell me what you’re saying?

I reached out to the founder of the group, asking to discuss this like adults. She ignored my messages. I’m wondering what all c.54,000 members in the main group would think of online bullying.

Am I writing this to “court controversy”? No. I’m writing this because this shit needs to be called out.