The CATalyst: Facebook Accountability for Cruel Cat Pictures

Steve Dale, CAT FANCY writer and syndicated newspaper pet columnist, provides a weekly cat news roundup. This week, he looks at Facebook's responsibility to the public.

I thought this Facebook page, called Feral Cat Roundup [Editor’s Note: Graphic pictures], supported the rounding up and killing of cats. That is what the page says, after all, and repugnant images on this page made my stomach turn. Dead cats are lined up side-by-side-by-side, cat pelts lay on tables and one photo appears to show a gutted cat. Pretty horrific stuff.

So, who is behind this page? Someone simply seeking attention, or a crazed woodsman who today skins cats today but tomorrow might murder people?

Now that Facebook reports to stockholders, ordinary citizens own the company, thousands of them who share their homes with cats. I wondered what these stockholders would think and I was ready to launch a campaign.

Apparently, the person who created this Feral Cat Roundup Facebook page is against rattlesnake roundups. Best as I can figure, he wants to demonstrate how awful those roundups are by getting us to imagine what it would be like if cats were rounded up instead of snakes.

Certainly, I am opposed to rattlesnake roundups and agree with the apparent intent of the creator of the page. In fact, I happen to be a reptile fan; we have a pet reptile of our own at home (a Northern blue-tongue skink named Cosette).

I do give the page’s creator credit for getting my attention – but posting those images is wrong and simply goes too far. Children aren’t supposed to surf the internet unsupervised, but a benign search on cat pictures could potentially land you on these images.

The biggest question, I suppose, is what Facebook’s responsibility in all this is. I was among several bloggers who managed to have Facebook shut down a page supporting the “virtues” of dog fighting. It took many weeks, and thousands of complaints, but the page was taken off.

Maybe I’m being a tad oversensitive based on what I know. Some people (too many people), for reasons I just don’t comprehend, hate cats. I’m not talking about Aunt Zelda, who is afraid of cats, or Aunt Matilda who really doesn’t like them because of her mistaken notions – I am talking about people who abhor cats so much they seek to do them harm.

You can’t find a separate line item for animal abuse on the Facebook abuse or violations page, although I suppose it may fall into the category “violent or graphic posts.” Perhaps, now that Facebook is publicly traded, more attention will be paid to inappropriate posts.

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