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August 22nd, 2014

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03:24 pm - Speak nicely and then express your disgust
GoFundMe, that relatively successful crowdsourcing site, is currently hosting a campaign created by people who want to financially support Darren Wilson, the policeman named in the Michael Brown shooting. You know, the white cop who put six bullets into an unarmed black teenager in broad daylight for the crime known colloquially as "boy not knowing his place".

The campaign is at http://www.gofundme.com/supportofficerwilson and I don't suggest you visit it to give clicks. I especially don't suggest you visit it to read the comments from contributors, many of which are of the dittohead attaboy variety, wishing a man well for straight up murdering a kid, and that's the least ugly of the themes. If ever we needed proof Pax Americana is on the inevitable decline, here it is.

However, I do suggest reaching out to GoFundMe and gently noting to them that the campaign is in direct violation of GoFundMe's Terms of Service which prohibit, in part:
(d) items that promote hate, violence, racial intolerance, or the financial exploitation of a crime
Welp. The shooting of an unarmed citizen is surely a crime; last I heard it's still being treated as a criminal investigation. And the contributor comments pretty much cover the other three angles, though the entire context behind the campaign does that too.

I have always found it most effective, when contacting sites about shit like this, is to stay objective and point out the actual technical flaws which necessitate removal. "Remove this because it's fucking reprehensible, you shitlords", while possibly true (current shitlord status unknown) sounds much different than "Remove this because it violates your own rules (which you wrote to prevent fucking reprehensible things like this from happening in the first place)". Plus, if the shitlords then sit on their thumbs and do nothing about it, you have the additional thrill of subsequently and loudly calling them out on their hypocrisy and, honestly, who doesn't love a chance to get to do that?

GoFundMe takes great pains at many points to remind you that it doesn't endorse the campaigns on its site; they're just a facilitator, an easy way for People A to send money to People B for specific reasons. I completely understand that endorsement and facilitation are two different things entirely. I also know damn well that the line between the two can get easily blurred and that at some point, continued facilitation in the face of opposition becomes endorsement. Let's hope GoFundMe does the right thing here and keep things from getting to that point, because I like the site and I know people who've done well by it and I'd hate to lose it as a good resource. There are few enough Good Resources these days as it is.

I admit I was a little unsettled when the GoFundMe report-a-site page asked for my phone number in case "law enforcement needs to contact" me; I'm reporting a case for TOS-breaking, not fraud. Since the case involves law enforcement, well, let's just say I was sufficiently unsettled that I may have nervously fat-fingered my phone number in the field and messed a few digits up. Twice.

(7 comments | Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:August 22nd, 2014 07:39 pm (UTC)
Not sure if this Report link will work for others, but I got to it through the Contact page:


Thank you so much for posting this!

Edited at 2014-08-22 07:40 pm (UTC)
[User Picture]
Date:August 22nd, 2014 07:42 pm (UTC)
Oh hey, thank you! I'll put that up in the post as well if it works.
[User Picture]
Date:August 22nd, 2014 09:19 pm (UTC)
Used your link. Thanks!
[User Picture]
Date:August 23rd, 2014 08:19 pm (UTC)
Done. Thank you.
[User Picture]
Date:August 22nd, 2014 08:55 pm (UTC)
If they don't take it down, they'll be GoFundYourself.
[User Picture]
Date:August 23rd, 2014 04:40 am (UTC)
If they don't take it down, they'll be GoFundYourself.

They didn't. They decided the campaign was "not in violation of GoFundMe's terms of service."

That's one site I will never have time or money for again.
[User Picture]
Date:August 25th, 2014 04:20 am (UTC)
I have to say, as much as I agree that Darren Wilson is, by my lights, a reprehensible murderer, if I were GoFundMe, I would not want to be in the position of deciding in advance the merits of every case where somebody wanted to set up a fund to defend somebody accused of a crime.

It would be a reasonable thing for them to say “you can’t use this site to set up legal defense funds”, but in the absence of that sort of rule, it seems like it would be a minefield for them to say “you can’t use this site to set up legal defense funds unless the beneficiary is actually innocent”, and I think that would effectively turn into “you can’t use this site to set up legal defense funds unless the beneficiary is popular”, which would probably end up amounting to a thumb on the scale in favor of middle-class white cops, at the expense of black male teens.

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