Who are the people liking stories about rape and murder on Facebook

We asked them and they had their reasons

On Monday the Evening Standard shared a link to a horrific story on Facebook. 

It told of how a woman was raped by a gang of teens in an upmarket central London street after she asked them for directions.

On Facebook the story was liked by 312 people. Surely there’s something a bit weird about this, a disconnect between the word “like”, the content we usually “like” on Facebook – things that amuse or amaze us, pictures of mates – and the story shared by the Standard.

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It’s not just this one story from the Standard. You’ll see people liking ISIS atrocity stories on the Daily Mail, liking stories about North Korean concentration camps on the Guardian. Why do they like this stuff? What’s the thought process behind it?

I messaged the 312 people who liked that Evening Standard story and asked them why they liked it and what they hoped to express. This is what they said.

Yigal Raymond


“I use the like button like a bookmark, so I can refer back to articles that interest me but don’t have time to read immediately. However, in this case, I marked it for several reasons. Primarily because I myself was a rape victim. Secondly because my current girlfriend was a rape victim. And we are totally against rape. There is never any justification for it. And we fully support the return of capital punishment, a bullet in the head, for rapists, murderers, paedophiles, terrorists, and various other criminal types.”

Martin Lee


“I liked it , coz u shared it out ….so i can shared it out spread the news …. and help females beware of surround area …… sometimes females dont know what their doing like this news …she went home at 6am alone…….she should be with friend or taxi direct to her place….. should hang around on streets ….. etc.”

Pajee Srissl


“When I press like, it will pop up on my friends’ news feed. This is another kind of sharing the post without pressing ‘share’.

“It also shows the support towards those who post the articles or news. I just wanna express that I am interested and concerned about this issue. For example, this news is about rape. I want to express to all my FB friends that I pay attention to this matter which is about about rape and women’s safety. On the other hand, generally when my friends see that I pressed ‘like’ to this news, they can imply that I am concerned about this matter. When people like something on Facebook, it can be implied that these people are interested to this stuff.”

Pinkyme Bongbong


“Actually, I don’t like it but there isn’t a dislike button. I just can’t believe this situation could happen in London as England is developed country. As I used to lived there several years, London has been changed a lot – I miss the old London as i knew it back in 2002.”

Nasir Ali


“Sir I’m Feminist.. This..Is..Why..It..Kills..Me..When..Heard..news..#Regarding_Woman..”

Vira Oxford


“I liked article. The simple one, I love London and believe this place safe for everyone,not only woman, kids, everyone….thank you.”

Arpan Yadav


“Liking doesn’t mean I liked what happened, just wanted more people to know and share the tragedy. I generally like pretty much every news feed I get.”

Constantin Florin


“I gave just like your post. not for what happened.”

Sajeev Mewasingh


“Liked to thank ES for sharing the info.”

John Davison


“Press stories are like on the basis of telling the FB algorithm to continue placing them in my feed.”

Lee Kensington-Westwick


“I use the like button to keep up to date as to where I was in my reading so I am not reading the same post twice. Most often when traveling and making a connection when I get n the next train I know exactly where I was. I use the like on Twitter in the same way

“Maybe Facebook and Twitter should have a “seen it button” there is quite often sooo much that comes up on the feeds it’s hard to scroll down to see exactly where you were last.”

Jacira Fernandes Ramos


“I think we can not trust anyone.”