Facebook decided to lift a ban on violent videos, such as those of people being decapitated, despite a ban on depictions that “glorify violence or attack an individual or group.”
The social media site lifted a temporary ban imposed back in May, after they received complaints about videos of beheadings.
Graphic violence is now all about context on Facebook. As long as they appear to condemn the violent action in the video, it won’t be removed.
“If the video were being celebrated, or the actions in it encouraged, our approach would be different,” a Facebook spokesperson told CNNMoney.
Facebook believes that censoring this violent content covers up the controversial acts that occur in the world, which people want to share so that they can be condemned.
“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,” Facebook said in a statement. “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.”
They added that they will advise users somehow before they view graphic content.
“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.”
British Prime Minister David Cameron was disgusted by the announcement and said Facebook is failing to help parents protect their childhood from graphic images posted to their site. He said Facebook officials “must explain their actions to worried parents.”
Their unwillingness to cover up graphic images of things like torture and other crimes against humanity adds fuel to a wider debate about whether Facebook is becoming a news publisher, CNN points out.
Facebook still does not allow images of drug use, pornography or nudity, unless it is an image of breastfeeding.