The Two-Way
6:44 am
Wed October 23, 2013

Facebook Removes Beheading Video, Says It Will Tighten Rules

Originally published on Wed October 23, 2013 7:30 am

Outrage over the posting of a video showing the decapitation of a woman has led Facebook to say it is going to "combat the glorification of violence ... [by] strengthening the enforcement of our policies." It has also removed the video.

This story began Monday when the BBC reported that:

"Facebook is allowing videos showing people being decapitated to be posted and shared on its site once again. The social network had introduced a temporary ban in May following complaints that the clips could cause long-term psychological damage. The U.S. firm confirmed it now believed its users should be free to watch and condemn such videos. It added it was, however, considering adding warnings."

The news network added that this week it was "alerted to Facebook's change in policy by a reader who said the firm was refusing to remove a page showing a clip of a masked man killing a woman, which is believed to have been filmed in Mexico."

British Prime Minister David Cameron was among those to condemn Facebook's decision. "It's irresponsible of Facebook to post beheading videos, especially without a warning. They must explain their actions to worried parents," he tweeted Tuesday.

Later Tuesday, Facebook posted something of a u-turn in policy:

"People turn to Facebook to share their experiences and to raise awareness about issues important to them. Sometimes, those experiences and issues involve graphic content that is of public interest or concern, such as human rights abuses, acts of terrorism, and other violence. When people share this type of graphic content, it is often to condemn it. If it is being shared for sadistic pleasure or to celebrate violence, Facebook removes it.

"As part of our effort to combat the glorification of violence on Facebook, we are strengthening the enforcement of our policies.

"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.

"Going forward, we ask that people who share graphic content for the purpose of condemning it do so in a responsible manner, carefully selecting their audience and warning them about the nature of the content so they can make an informed choice about it."

Cameron tweeted Wednesday that he is "pleased Facebook has changed its approach on beheading videos. The test is now to ensure their policy is robust in protecting children."

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