After heavy criticisms from various online safety organizations and parental concern groups, Facebook has changed its stance on how it views the sharing of extremely gruesome videos on its network.
Recently, a video of a woman being beheaded was uploaded onto Facebook, and the response from the internet community was mixed. Facebook stated that it allowed such content because it did not violate Facebook’s current policy and that people had the rights to share and expose “the world in which we live in.”
The social network released the following statement:
“People are sharing this video on Facebook to condemn it. Just as TV news programs often show upsetting images of atrocities, people can share upsetting videos on Facebook to raise awareness of actions or causes.
While this video is shocking, our approach is designed to preserve people’s rights to describe, depict and comment on the world which we live in.”
Advocates of an ‘open’ internet may deem Facebook’s view as advancement in the sharing of valuable information, but for many child safety advocates the policy was flawed in that it did not account for psychologically protecting those who are too young to understand the world circumstances.
Users that are under the age of 13 accounts for about 7.5 million of Facebook’s total users in the US, according to a consumer report, and psychologists have strong reasons to believe that these adolescents don’t have the capacity to dissect such violence in a meaningful way.
“Facebook must have taken leave on their senses. I hate to think how an unsuspecting youngster might react if they saw it through their news feed or in any other way,” said John Carr, an executive for the UK government’s Council on Child Internet Safety.
Facebook doesn’t want to drive away some of its core users, and have issued another statement to reverse its earlier decision to allow the murder video to subsist on its network.
“We will remove instances of these videos that are reported to us while we evaluate our policy and approach to this type of content.”