Facebook Lifts A Ban On Beheading Videos

Tuesday, October 22, 2013 - 11:00 AM

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. (Flickr user andrewfeinberg (cc: by-nc-sa))

The BBC reports Facebook has lifted a blanket ban on beheading videos the company introduced back in May. 

Here's a company spokesman: 

"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."

The specific video in question purports to show a masked Mexican man killing a woman. Facebook's is allowing it to be posted because people are sharing the video to condemn it. Facebook says that they would consider censoring clips like these if they celebrated violence. 

I've never really been able to stand watching these kinds of clips, so I don't. But if sharing them might spur people to some kind of political action that could stop actual, real life beheadings from happening, that seems worthwhile. The BBC has a quote parade of folks who worry about the psychological damage these clips will do to them or to their children. The obvious response? Just don't look. 


Disclose.tv - just don't look


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Comments [1]

Em from NY

I am sick and tired of listening to people explaining how scenes of graphic violence will in some way be edifying for some viewers. It's garbage, pure and simple. If by adulthood you do not understand that the act of murder is morally abhorrent, you have some serious issues to deal with which this kind of video certainly won't help. My problem with showing this video is not the "fragile minds will be damaged" argument. It's that for every 100,000 people that will pass on this video so they can feel good about their "outrage" to others, there will be one sick #@$% who will be getting his/her jollies from it. If your daughter was brutally murdered, would you want it to be the next youtube sensation, so those freaks could download it for their own gratification?

And where does it stop? Would it be acceptable to show a toddler be decapitated? What if they had showed two year old Jamie Bulger's murder - would that have given us any more of a "lesson" about his extraordinarily brutal murder??? Give me a break. So then you have to ask - why is it acceptable that an young woman's decapitation is acceptable viewing for "educational purposes?" Pornography is pornography people, and I hate to shatter those fragile little minds out there, but people get off on pretty sick stuff, that's why, when we are talking about unwilling victims, just like with child pornography - trading on the images should be banned outright.

And don't make the argument about violence on the news, and censorship, blah blah blah, because the news is contextual and edited, so it cannot be used for entertainment value, well not yet anyway. Forgive me, but a byline by a FB commenter, saying "OMG, watch this, it's gross" has not quite the same weight as seasoned journalism. And no one is saying don't report about this stuff - it should be all over the press - reading about it SHOULD be enough to outrage anyone with a moral compass. But displaying it unfiltered has no value, except for a small number of sickos who will be given inspiration and validation by downloading it as a souvenir.

Oct. 31 2013 01:38 PM

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TLDR is a short podcast and blog about the internet by Meredith Haggerty. You can subscribe to the TLDR podcast here. You can follow our blog here. I tweet @manymanywords and @tldr.

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