This article was published on October 23, 2013

Facebook backpedals and removes a violent beheading video as it updates related policies

Facebook backpedals and removes a violent beheading video as it updates related policies

A violent video depicting a beheading of a woman has gone viral on Facebook recently. The social networking site had lifted a temporary ban — introduced in May — on such videos showing people being decapitated, BBC News reported earlier this week.

However, Facebook is now backpedaling (again) and has removed the video as it updates its policies on violent images, as spotted first by AllThingsD.

Facebook is in an awkward position as it wants to emphasize on the freedom of expression and not be seen as policing content too much, but in some cases including this instance, the content may have been too extreme to keep on its site.

The social networking giant says that to fend off the “glorification of violence” on its site, it will be strengthening the enforcement of its violent images policies. It will take a more “holistic” approach when looking at the context of a violent image or video, and will consider whether the sharing was done responsibly by providing a warning or limiting it to an age-appropriate audience.

Facebook acknowledges the fact that people turn to it to raise awareness about issues and “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.”

If people share this type of graphic content on Facebook to condemn it, the site leaves it there. If such content is being shared for “sadistic pleasure or to celebrate violence,” Facebook will then remove it.

In the video showing the brutal beheading of a woman, Facebook says that its updated standards have led a conclusion that it improperly glorifies violence, and the company has thus removed it.

An Update on Graphic Content on Facebook [FB Newsroom]

Headline image via Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images