SOCIAL NETWORK Facebook has announced that it will not remove videos or images of people being beheaded as long as they are uploaded with good intentions.
The firm said that there are controversial acts that happen in the world and that often people want to share photos of them so that they can be condemned. This can be extended to all sorts of things, of course, and beheadings might just be one of them.
But, people will be offered control over the sort of material they might stumble upon. After all, not everyone will want to wander out of a status update or a cat's holiday video into a beheading video.
"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 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 in a statement.
"However, since some people object to graphic video of this nature, we are working to give people additional control over the content they see. This may include warning them in advance that the image they are about to see contains graphic content."
While topless bodies are fine, topless ladies remain a no no on Facebook. Images of breastfeeding are okay, but images of breasts that are not attached to a baby are not welcome and if they are reported to it, then Facebook is likely to remove them.
David Cameron, who is still the UK prime minister, sounded appalled at this, and wondered what Facebook would do to appease parents who are worried about what their children might see on social networks.
"It's irresponsible of Facebook to post beheading videos, especially without a warning," he said. "They must explain their actions to worried parents".
Far be it from us to defend Facebook, but it does appear to be considering something along those lines. And while we are at it, Facebook doesn't post beheading videos, as far as we can tell, but its users do.
If someone at Number 10 would like to explain the subtleties of social networks to the PM it probably would be appreciated.
Meanwhile, the Pirate Party in the UK suggested that Cameron is looking for a peg to hang a censorship argument on. "Another excuse for more censorship?" it asked in a tweeted introduction to a report about his Twitter comment.
Facebook has changed its mind about letting people upload photos of beheadings willy nilly.
In a post on its pages the firm said that it has rethought the kind of content that is allowed on its social networking site.
Again it said that there is sometimes some room for the sort of thing that makes people cover their eyes and run away from a scene, it is not always appropriate.
"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," it said.
"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."
However, the firm has been roundly criticised for having anything to do with beheading-videos, including the Tweet from the UK Prime Minister.
"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," it said.
"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."
PM David Cameron is pleased at this. He returned to Twitter to tell everyone how pleased, but still a bit concerned he is. I'm pleased Facebook has changed its approach on beheading videos. The test is now to ensure their policy is robust in protecting children. µ
Tags: Social Media
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