Facebook lifts ban on beheading videos
LONDON — Facebook has stirred up a storm with a controversial decision to lift a ban on violent videos, including beheadings.
A temporary ban on graphic content was imposed in May following complaints about videos which depicted people being decapitated.
Facebook removed the reported videos and said it was reviewing its policy on this type of graphic content.
Now the company has relaxed its stance. It will allow violent content such as beheadings to be published, provided the intent is to raise awareness rather than celebrate violence.
Facebook’s user conditions prohibit photos or videos that “glorify violence or attack an individual or group.”
A spokesperson for Facebook said it will allow such content from users, provided they are condemning the actions depicted.
“If the video were being celebrated, or the actions in it encouraged, our approach would be different,” a spokesperson told CNNMoney.
The firm said warnings may be displayed ahead of graphic videos.
The change in policy, first reported by the BBC, drew a wave of protest from Facebook users and others on Twitter.
British Prime Minister David Cameron was quick to condemn the decision: “It’s irresponsible of Facebook to post beheading videos, especially without a warning. They must explain their actions to worried parents.”
Another tweet, from @Babawa12m, read: “@facebook Shame on you for allowing beheading clips back on FB. Disgusting, immoral, reprehensible.”
The new rule appears to provide a gateway for certain type of extreme content to dodge existing filters. Facebook prohibits nudity, drug use and pornography, and these restrictions will stay in force.