Facebook Lifts Ban on Violent Videos Including Beheadings; Nudity Still Out

8:44 PM, Oct 22, 2013   |    comments
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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 it."

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 as inappropriate.

Facebook does, however, say it removes nudity or sexually suggestive content.

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