SAN FRANCISCO -- Facebook has changed its stance on allowing
beheading videos on its global digital town square, adding a pre-roll
graphic content warning in some instances.
The social giant's move
is an about-face from a position it took to remove such graphic videos
in May. Facebook's decision to allow certain videos was based on whether
the videos condemn such acts.
"People turn to Facebook to share
their experiences and to raise awareness about issues important to
them," said spokeswoman Debbie Frost in a statement. "If it is being
shared for sadistic pleasure or to celebrate violence, Facebook removes
Facebook's decision raises concerns because it allows
membership to those as young as 13 years old. The company last week
changed its privacy settings to permit teenagers to share posts, photos
and videos worldwide.
"Press freedom comes with responsibility --
and that should apply to Facebook too. It is wrong to show
decapitations," wrote Peter Barron on Twitter, a newspaper editor and
children's book author.
Facebook's disturbing videos issue came to
light when footage of a man cutting off the head of a woman went viral
on the social site. The company had a number of other gruesome videos.
Facebook has since taken steps to remove the videos from the site.
Members will have to take steps to post warnings around graphic videos,
according to Facebook.
What remains unclear is how Facebook plans
to curate video sharing other than responding to users reporting content
Facebook does, however, say it removes nudity or sexually suggestive content.