Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Facebook reverses course on viral video featuring decapitation

Facebook has reversed course again. Just a day after it was learned that the social networking giant was again allowing decapitation and other violent videos on-site, the company took a violent video that had gone viral (as reported by AllThingsD).

Originally, Facebook defended its stance, saying:
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. People share videos of these events on Facebook to condemn them.
The video depicted the brutal decapitation of a woman.

Its new policy was outlined in a press release. The company now says that it will continue to allow some graphic content to be posted online, but will also review said context.
First, when we review content that is reported to us, we will take a more holistic look at the context surrounding a violent image or video, and will remove content that celebrates violence.

Second, we will consider whether the person posting the content is sharing it responsibly, such as accompanying the video or image with a warning and sharing it with an age-appropriate audience.

Based on these enhanced standards, we have re-examined recent reports of graphic content and have concluded that this content improperly and irresponsibly glorifies violence. For this reason, we have removed it.
On Tuesday, there were still beheading and decapitation videos available on Facebook, sans the warning that Facebook said would be necessary in paragraph two of their statement.

Prior to pulling down the video, Facebook displayed the above warning message. As of Tuesday night, though, Facebook changed its policy, and visitors to the page are now greeted with the stark message: "This content is currently unavailable."

This isn't the first time Facebook has come under fire for its censorship policies. In the past, Facebook had issues with both breastfeeding and mastectomy images. Both are now allowed, as long as they "pass the sniff test" as far as Facebook is concerned.

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