In a decision that has gone on to irk British charity group, ‘Hostage UK’ supporting British hostages, Facebook has intimated that it is set to lift its ban of allowing the posting of, brace yourselves, beheadings.
The beheadings that have most come to alarm the entity include that of Jihadists exacting their brutal kind of punishment.
Went on to recently tell the family of murdered British engineer Ken Bigley at the hands of Islamic extremists: ‘Facebook is ‘playing into the hands of hostage-takers’ by allowing footage of decapitations.’
Joining the humanities group in contesting Facebook’s decision is also British prime minister, David Cameron who has gone on to condemn Facebook’s decision as ‘irresponsible.’
Cameron argues that in secretly deciding to change an earlier ban, Facebook must now justify its actions to parents and users of the site.
Facebook had initially banned the posting of beheadings in May of this year, citing the potential of long term psychological damage to viewers but inextricably has now gone on to quietly reverse its decision.
Tells the outlet: ‘….users should be able to watch the videos as long as they condemn these videos, not celebrate them.’
The about face means that viewers are now allowed to post videos of beheadings but can’t for instance post images of female breasts.
Interestingly, Facebook’s terms and conditions now state that it will remove photos or videos that “glorify violence” in addition to other banned material, including a woman’s “fully exposed breast”.
Nevertheless one wonders why beheadings would not fall under the notion of glorified violence?
Went on to tell former head of the Hostage And Crisis Negotiation Unit at Scotland Yard, Sue Williams to the UK’s dailymail: ‘Facebook is playing into the hands of the hostage-takers, who use these videos to instil fear. By stopping the ban they are, in effect, now doing their job for them.
‘I do not think that Facebook has thought through the full consequences of this.
‘It will cause great pain to the families of those who have lost loved-ones who were hostages. Facebook must also think about of those who are being held hostage at present’.
Also condemning the move is Dr Arthur Cassidy, who runs a suicide prevention charity outlet, Yellow Ribbon Program in Northern Ireland: ‘The more graphic and colourful the material is, the more psychologically destructive it becomes.’
Went on to tell one user who recently came across a beheading video on Facebook:
‘This is absolutely horrible, distasteful and needs to be removed… there are too many young minds that can see this. I’m 23 and I’m very disturbed after seeing a couple of seconds of it,’
In countering its decision, Facebook has argued that it is merely exacting the same standards which apply to all other facets of media, including television and print media.
Told a released statement: “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,”
Of the beheading that recently turned up on Facebook last week:
“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.
“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.”
The BBC has gone on to note that decapitation videos are available elsewhere on the net – including on Google’s YouTube – but critics have raised concern that Facebook’s news feeds and other sharing functions mean it is particularly adept at spreading such material.
Facebook has countered that the issue of what is appropriate viewing is an issue of freedom-of-speech and that it is the responsibility of parents – not the company – to protect children on the internet.