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Facebook removes beheading video, rethinks policy

Published time: October 23, 2013 16:04
Edited time: October 23, 2013 17:50
AFP Photo / Raul Arboleda

AFP Photo / Raul Arboleda

In response to a wave of criticism Facebook has removed a beheading video, backtracking on its short-lived decision to keep it. The company has also announced new approach to handling videos that depict acts of violence.

The world's most popular social network, with 1.15 billion members, thus yielded to pressure it faced Monday, following media reports of the company’s lifting its ban on images of graphic violence.

The public outcry was sparked by a Facebook video of a woman being beheaded by a Mexican drug cartel. British Prime Minister David Cameron has taken the lead in the campaign, calling Facebook’s policy on graphic video content “irresponsible.”

Facebook had initially sought to deny any wrongdoing and defend its policy. 

"People are sharing this video on Facebook to condemn it. If the video were being celebrated, or the actions in it encouraged, our approach would be different,” Facebook said.

Later, however, Facebook carried out a hurried U-turn on showing violence.

"Based on these enhanced standards, we have reexamined recent reports of graphic content and have concluded that this content improperly and irresponsibly glorifies violence. For this reason we have removed it," Facebook said in a statement.

Cameron welcomed the news on his Twitter account, saying he was pleased with the company’s decision.  

Facebook also announced it was reviewing its general policy on which video postings to allow.

"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," Facebook’s statement read. "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."

The company has pledged to scrutinize more closely the gory videos being posted and keep the ones which condemn violence, while getting rid of those “shared for sadistic pleasure.”

Comments (5)


Mark Jones 05.11.2013 19:52

People should not be naive. There is never any reason for sharing these videos other than for tawdry interest. If you want to protest beheading it is not necessary to do it by showing a person being beheaded. Share a written article about it, or a video about it, but not it. Those posting and sharing these videos, and Facebook by allowing it, should remember that the person being murdered & displayed for other people's entertainment is someone's father, son, grandfather, mother, daughter. How would they feel if it was theirs - shared online forever for the whole world to gawp at.


George Rizk 24.10.2013 15:19

It is true as the US outsource some of its policy implementations to thugs/mafia type (Islamists or drug bosses) their conduct is not acceptable by most decent human beings. If such barbaric conduct is revealed to the unwashed population, it can degrade their faith in their government, which supports such thugs. Hence, it is better never to see how the sausages are made!


Rafael Silva 23.10.2013 20:54

Gotta have the death penalty for drug dealer in Mexico other country would not have had much drug cartel.
In Brazil have to invade Bolivia, Colombia (the FARC GUERRILLA-NARCO) and bring down the drug cartels that uses not only the country's infrastructure, but much of the drug is in BRAZIL, since when NGOs entered Brazil to affecting its public release of drugs has been increasing consumption. Brazil is the second largest consumer, behind only the U.S., but this problem is easy to solve.
At least the video of the beheading of women serves to say, for those who take drugs, you fund such atrocity.

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