Facebook Again Allows Violent Videos

8:26 PM, Oct 21, 2013   |    comments
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Michael Winter, USA TODAY

Reversing a ban on graphic content, Facebook is again allowing users to post violent images or videos if the intent is to condemn, not glorify, the acts depicted, the BBC reported Monday.

The BBC was tipped off by a user who said that despite complaints from other members, Facebook had refused to delete a page showing a gruesome video clip -- reportedly recorded in Mexico -- of a masked man beheading a woman.

The social network began deleting visually graphic content n in May after child-protection advocates complained about videos showing decapitations. The Family Online Safety Institute said such disturbing images "crossed a line" and could potentially cause psychological damage among Facebook users, who can be as young as 13.

"We will remove instances of these videos that are reported to us while we evaluate our policy and approach to this type of content," Facebook said, according to a May 1 BBC report.

But the company quietly returned to its previous policy sometime after that, though exactly when is not clear. The company has stated its members had a right to show the "world in which we live."

"Facebook has long been a place where people turn to share their experiences, particularly when they're connected to controversial events on the ground, such as human rights abuses, acts of terrorism and other violent events," a Facebook spokesperson said Monday in response to the BBC report. "People share videos of these events on Facebook to condemn them. If they were being celebrated, or the actions in them encouraged, our approach would be different."

Facebook's terms of service state:

You will not post content that: is hate speech, threatening, or pornographic; incites violence; or contains nudity or graphic or gratuitous violence.

Here's its community standards regarding graphic content:

People use Facebook to share events through photos and videos. We understand that graphic imagery is a regular component of current events, but must balance the needs of a diverse community. Sharing any graphic content for sadistic pleasure is prohibited.

The Facebook spokesperson told CNET the company is seeking the best way for members to control the various content they encounter.

"Since some people object to graphic video of this nature, we are working to give people additional control over the content they see," the spokesperson said. "This may include warning them in advance that the image they are about to see contains graphic content."

USA Today

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