Following my recent post responding to La Leche League International’s decision to not just drink – but go in to full scale production of – gender flavoured kool-aid, a colleague sent me a message containing a link and three words: “check this out”.
Clicking the link took me to an open access google document titled “LLL USA Guide to responding to negative chestfeeding comments- public”. Dated August 2017, the document contained La Leche League USA’s official guide to moderating social media posts about chestfeeding, created by the LLLUSA Social Media Team.
Having followed LLLUSA on Facebook for a number of years, the general vibe of the document was not particularly surprising, as LLLUSA have made no secret of their practice of deleting critical comments and arbitrarily banning commenters because “hate speech”:
What the full social media mod guide reveals however is that rather than creating a ‘safe space’, what LLLUSA has actually been doing, is coaching their online moderators to systematically identify and stamp out certain forms of wrongthink, while permitting and encouraging ideologically pure expression in support of the original post:
The document goes on to describe how moderators can play spot the difference between conservative religious types and Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists (TERFs)* just by analysing their comments (I personally enjoy reading this part in a David Attenborough voice, as if enjoying a documentary about dangerous women and how to prevent them):
Moderators are instructed to “stick to the truth” and “stick to the script” while avoiding “questions you don’t want to answer” or “discussion of biology”. Disturbingly, mods also appear to be expected to track where a post has been shared, and block anyone who speaks critically about LLL, whether or not this person has actually commented on the original post.
In this guide, LLLUSA have overstepped from moderating comments, into profiling and psychological manipulation. The Social Media Team have redefined ‘hate speech’ as any comment that they don’t like, and ‘truth’ as LLLUSA’s official position on chestfeeding. Any indication that a commenter is not open to being correctly educated, is evidence that they are a bigot or a troll and on this basis their opinion is disallowed.
The effect of this mod guide is to create a situation in which the comments on any LLLUSA post about chestfeeding will be overwhelmingly positive and praising the organisation, with admin positioning themselves as valiant heroes standing by to guard against floods of hate. Despite the fact that LLLUSA’s public language and postion on chestfeeding is not necessarily representative of the views of its members and Leaders (many of whom privately express deep reservations about the direction the organisation is taking on this issue), they are carefully curating the impression that everyone is or should be totally fine with relabelling breastfeeding mothers as ‘breastfeeding/chestfeeding/human milk feeding families’ and that anyone who questions this has something wrong with them. This is not moderation – it’s social engineering.
Of course, I’d love to be able to send you the link to the google doc so you could have a read for yourselves. But within a few hours of the link being shared on social media sites, it had been password protected (and fair enough, I’d be pretty embarrassed too if I’d written it). So if you want to read it, you’ll have to make do with this mumsnet thread where the full text has been uploaded. Because now, if you click the original google doc link, what you will see is this:
Not content with writing a document on how to shut women up full of misogynist slurs, LLLUSA social media team have doubled down in anime form! For those of you with the common sense to avoid the cesspit that is trans activist twitter, this particular meme was popularised by Dr Rachel McKinnon, a trans identified academic who enjoys claiming trophies in women’s cycling races and also has a tactic of deleting and blocking anyone suspected of TERFism (although unlike LLLUSA, McKinnon uses a bot rather than human moderators to weed out gender critical thought):
So, folks, there we have it. One of the largest and most historically respected peer breastfeeding support groups in the world, has an official practice of determining if you’ll be allowed to comment based on how you think, and if you don’t like it, well you’re a FART aren’t you. But I think I’ll leave the last word with LLLUSA, because they did write it themselves:
*TERF is a term widely used as a derogatory slur to denigrate women who reject gender ideology and the claim that human beings can change their sex. It is not, as those who use it often claim, ‘just a descriptor’, it is a dogwhistle and often associated with threats of violence eg “throat punch a TERF today” or “kill all TERFs”.