Facebook finally bans beheading videos

Yes, you read that correctly. For a site that bans images of an exposed tit, they were fine with a video post that showed a masked man beheading a woman.

The video was still available yesterday but carried a warning.

The video was uploaded on Oct. 16th, and after the BBC raised concerns about the upload, Facebook issued a press release two days later that said in part:

People turn to Facebook to share their experiences and to raise awareness about issues important to them. 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. When people share this type of graphic content, it is often to condemn it. If it is being shared for sadistic pleasure or to celebrate violence, Facebook removes it. 

Originally the social network defended its stance to allow the video stating:

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, 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.

Originally the video didn't carry a warning, a spokesman for Facebook also stated that this would be added "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." and as you can see in the image above, that's exactly what happened.

Among the many users that reported the video, an Australian police force was among those who had complained. It said it had been told by Facebook's moderators that the video "did not violate our community standard on graphic violence".

In a time where the social network also faces pressure from watchdogs around the world for its lax security and ethics, one has to wonder what they're thinking over there?

In any case, you needn't worry about running into such content anytime soon, and if you do, rest assured that Facebook will now pull it instead of defending it.

Source: BBC

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Gaming Mice Roundup 2013: Corsair, Steelseries, Gigabyte, Logitech and Razer

Next Story

Nokia explains delay for Full HD and Quad Core support

48 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

The amount of people advocating censorship on this thread is disturbing. Furthermore you're seemingly fine with a private website deciding what is shown and what isn't. That's a pretty sloppy position to take. How new are you all to the web?

"Furthermore you're seemingly fine with a private website deciding what is shown and what isn't."

Umm, of course I am. Who the hell am I or anyone else to tell a private website what they have to do with their content?

Private being the keyword. Facebook can (and does) censor whatever it wants, and there's absolutely no reason to expect it not to.

The internet at large is obviously a different story. If you don't like Facebook's rules, go take your ball elsewhere.

Lord Method Man said,
"Furthermore you're seemingly fine with a private website deciding what is shown and what isn't."

Umm, of course I am. Who the hell am I or anyone else to tell a private website what they have to do with their content?

"Their content?". Have another try. Unless you think Facebook commissioned the piece.

Basically, for me, it runs counter to what the WWW is supposed to be. In my opinion it should be a clear stream. Unless it's actually "illegal" for you to view such imagery in your particular country then I see no reason why any website needs to be the internet police. This is the issue when you begin dealing with things subjectively rather than objectively. You can't really come up with a solution.

If you put it there, it's their content. Perhaps you should go read the user agreement again.

If you want the "clearstream", try any of the other millions of sites out there that don't give a crap about censorship.

threetonesun said,
If you put it there, it's their content. Perhaps you should go read the user agreement again.

If you want the "clearstream", try any of the other millions of sites out there that don't give a crap about censorship.

Don't worry. I do. Luckily they haven't been cowed by the new mob of "offended" types.

ROFLCOPTERS said,

"Their content?". Have another try. Unless you think Facebook commissioned the piece.

The second you upload it you hand it over an it becomes theirs.

I see no reason why any website needs to be the internet police.

I can think of one: Because its their website and they can do whatever the hell they want with it. If they want to ban pictures of elephants or the word 'tomato' they can.

I report nudity and graphic violence on FB since kids use it. They would always remove the nudity but never remove the graphic violence. Glad that has changed.

There's nothing wrong with children seeing nudity. I found dirty magazines when I was little and I loved it! Violence, on the other hand, is a totally different thing.

If you don't want to see beheading videos on Facebook, then don't click on the link/play button. There are a lot of videos that I don't want to see, why I don't bother clicking the play button.

Should Neowin allow beheading videos also then? You can just not click on them right?

Seriously, it's Facebook not Ogrish. People that want to see sick stuff like that know where to find it.

My bet, they did not allowed any beheading videos but only the approved by the NSA, where they show how evil are some countries.

i fear that this isn't about protecting people from seeing beheadings. i think it's to prevent people from seeing the true nature of islam.

seta-san said,
i fear that this isn't about protecting people from seeing beheadings. i think it's to prevent people from seeing the true nature of islam.

Not all atrocities, have a religious background . At the end, it's circumstances, and individual personalities that makes a difference. Putting all the blame on a religion, just exacerbate divisions; but does nothing positive.

So if someone shows a video of a prison inmate being executed in an American be a show of Christianity nature?

The Soviets executed a lot of people, and they were atheists.

A340600 said,
So if someone shows a video of a prison inmate being executed in an American be a show of Christianity nature?

The Soviets executed a lot of people, and they were atheists.

there's a difference. No one is shouting "god is great" during those executions. The executions in america happen ONLY after a trial and several appeals and the form of execution is usually designed to be as painless as possible while doing as little as possible to harm the body so as to give the person the dignity of an open-casket funeral.

A340600 said,
So if someone shows a video of a prison inmate being executed in an American be a show of Christianity nature?

I guess that someone that hate Christians, would make that conclusion, and just ignore the weakness of it.

bigmehdi said,

Not all atrocities, have a religious background . At the end, it's circumstances, and individual personalities that makes a difference. Putting all the blame on a religion, just exacerbate divisions; but does nothing positive.

In fact basically none are. If you really analyze every situation, you'll find the central theme is people fighting over resources. It also happens with every other living thing. Primates are known to have prolonged wars.

bigmehdi said,

Not all atrocities, have a religious background . At the end, it's circumstances, and individual personalities that makes a difference. Putting all the blame on a religion, just exacerbate divisions; but does nothing positive.

Ah, I see you have never read the Qur'an. Check it out, sometime. If you can stand the boredom for long enough, you'll get to the horrifying parts about the religion of "peace."

Skwerl said,

Ah, I see you have never read the Qur'an. Check it out, sometime. If you can stand the boredom for long enough, you'll get to the horrifying parts about the religion of "peace."

Because the bible is much more entertaining.

bigmehdi said,

Because the bible is much more entertaining.

No, it's extraordinarily boring, too. Until you get to all the WTF parts in it, as well. People actually *believe* this crap! It blows my mind.

seta-san said,

there's a difference. No one is shouting "god is great" during those executions. The executions in america happen ONLY after a trial and several appeals and the form of execution is usually designed to be as painless as possible while doing as little as possible to harm the body so as to give the person the dignity of an open-casket funeral.

Thats not what I saw in a video of American soldiers slaughtering Afghans and then playing golf with their heads.

seta-san said,

there's a difference. No one is shouting "god is great" during those executions. The executions in america happen ONLY after a trial and several appeals and the form of execution is usually designed to be as painless as possible while doing as little as possible to harm the body so as to give the person the dignity of an open-casket funeral.

they say "god is great" to everything.. they actually teach their children at a young age to say that after freaking everything.

for example, if they talk about how tasty dinner way, they make it a point to say "god is great" or "God has willed it". I think the problem is your ethnocentrism.

CJ33 said,

they say "god is great" to everything.. they actually teach their children at a young age to say that after freaking everything.

for example, if they talk about how tasty dinner way, they make it a point to say "god is great" or "God has willed it". I think the problem is your ethnocentrism.


Kind of like how I shout, "Christ on a cross!" when someone cuts me off on the freeway.

Skwerl said,

Kind of like how I shout, "Christ on a cross!" when someone cuts me off on the freeway.

Too much focus on what people shout. Actions are what matters.
Yeah, there are some Muslims that says "allah akhbar" a bit too easily,
but I would make the difference between the context of having a good
meal , and a murder.

I've seen the most violent pictures ever in facebook. Censorship never works when you would expect it. What's even more "funny", is some people posting description " beware, if you click, there are pictures that aren't for the faint of heart"; and with that post an already apparent shocking picture (Usually it's from people that wants to talk of war, and that hopes to polarize opinions).

"Facebook finally bans beheading videos"...

That's the sensationalist headline for your article.

So let me ask this, giving you a bit background to it that every media outlet in the world should already know...

A while ago Facebook rightly came under a torrent of criticism for allowing videos showing beheading.

Following the outcry in May, Facebook TEMPORARILY blocked such videos while they consulted or pondered on the issue. This fact is well known.

A few days ago however, the BBC came to information that Facebook was once again showing such videos.

When they challenged Facebook, Facebook confirmed that they were now showing such videos. They said they would be posting warnings first etc,but at that time this wasn't actually being done.

A couple of days ago however, they did then implement the Warning First system.

This is all well documented and reported public knowledge. And demonstrates that Facebook 's Moral Compass is so fecked up, it couldn't guide a polar bear 15 foot to the Pole! Free speech is a pile of Crap in defence or this, and has no bearing in any of this before anyone asks, as we are not given the right to see an exposed Breast, even with a prior warning or adult opt in system, so don't dare anyone say this is about free speech. ********!

That all being the case though, I rushed here reading your article overjoyed to think that Facebook had finally had a change of heart and relented today and (in your very own title words) "finally banned beheading videos".

Can you tell me what I'm missing in your article that reveals this is now the case, or would you explain to me how the well known situation over the last week, and a prior warning system or acceptance to remove those that become praised or glorified, even remotely equates to "Facebook finally bans beheading videos"?

That has to be some of the poorest journalism I've seen in years if this is not actually the case, and given the subject area it relates to, was always only ever likely to engender a response like my own Neowin...

in the linked press release it states "Based on these enhanced standards, we have re-examined recent reports of graphic content and have concluded that this content improperly and irresponsibly glorifies violence. For this reason, we have removed it." so this statement alone would suggest that anything like it would also have to fall under the same "enhanced standards" there's nothing wrong with what I've stated.

This doesn't solve the problems such as "cute girls crushing puppies" video I've seen doing the rounds on my feed (from others) though, or possibly other acts of violence. This simply refers to the subject matter that they're now deeming inappropriate.

Although I fixed the title error by removing the s from videos, just to make it that much clearer.

Thanks, this information should have actually been in the article.

Without that, the title comes across as an error, 'Yes, you read that correctly. ' doesn't actually prove to the reader that the title wasn't inaccurate still, the article seems like just a summary of known events otherwise.

Steven Parker said,
in the linked press release it states "Based on these enhanced standards, we have re-examined recent reports of graphic content and have concluded that this content improperly and irresponsibly glorifies violence. For this reason, we have removed it." so this statement alone would suggest that anything like it would also have to fall under the same "enhanced standards" there's nothing wrong with what I've stated.

This doesn't solve the problems such as "cute girls crushing puppies" video I've seen doing the rounds on my feed (from others) though, or possibly other acts of violence. This simply refers to the subject matter that they're now deeming inappropriate.

Although I fixed the title error by removing the s from videos, just to make it that much clearer.

Steven...

Facebook bans beheading video

And:

Facebook bans beheading videos

... Are about as far removed as things can ever be.

Facebook removing one tiny thing a multitude of thousands and thousands, is barely even worth noting or acknowledging.

Facebook relenting and changing their entire ethos and global policy is however worldwide newsworthy.

And your headline, stating plural, not singular, said to us all the latter, not the former.

Grrr.

Finally, for me, the s still remains. And expecting us to read a third party linked article, just to make sense of what your own article and headline is claiming, is bad show indeed. If your own article and piece doesn't in itself explain your own headline, then it has failed.

Forgive my ire. As you can imagine most of this anger is due to Facebook. But your headline had I, and likely many more, really excited to think that Facebook had relented and changed their whole policy.

Alas it has done no such thing, and your article still reads as if it has...

EDITED solely to clarify that:

Facebook REMOVES beheading videos (only if they are later praised or glorified).

Is nothing remotely akin to:

"Facebook bans beheading videos" as your piece is titled.

Edited by shadamehr, Oct 23 2013, 11:49am : As clarified above at the end of the reply

Nude pictures were reported as offensive while beheading videos are ok. This explains a lot about what kind of people were offended...

Defoe Daniel said,
Nude pictures were reported as offensive while beheading videos are ok. This explains a lot about what kind of people were offended...

Also, a picture of a woman breastfeeding her baby (wrapped in a blanket, not showing anything) is banned due to its graphic nature. Meanwhile, a Facebook page celebrating rape is allowed.

Jub Fequois said,

Also, a picture of a woman breastfeeding her baby (wrapped in a blanket, not showing anything) is banned due to its graphic nature. Meanwhile, a Facebook page celebrating rape is allowed.

Maybe if the woman or the baby were beheaded they would allow the pictures? not that would make sense for the woman to breastfeed in those conditions but...

Should never have been in question - those videos are appalling, and it'd be so trivial / easy for minors to be exposed to them given the nature of Facebook. I mean jeez - I'm in my 30's and have been desensitized to some of the most insane stuff on the internet, but watching people die in such horrendous circumstances is often life changing moment and incredibly hard to forget.

I'm not for keeping children wrapped in cotton-wool, to protect them from unpleasant things in the world - but those sorts of videos are a step too far.

Chicane-UK said,
Should never have been in question - those videos are appalling, and it'd be so trivial / easy for minors to be exposed to them given the nature of Facebook. I mean jeez - I'm in my 30's and have been desensitized to some of the most insane stuff on the internet, but watching people die in such horrendous circumstances is often life changing moment and incredibly hard to forget.

I'm not for keeping children wrapped in cotton-wool, to protect them from unpleasant things in the world - but those sorts of videos are a step too far.

I agree, I don't think it should be a cottle-wool approach but the way people are finding this kind of material on facebook is not under their own initiative, when they're ready and willing to look at it.
Along with the be heading videos there are a lot of others. I recently had a cute puppy and 3 half naked ladies popup on a video in my facebook news feed. Of course it was anything but pleasant to watch - I didn't search for it, I never wanted to see it, but because my friend's had friends who shared it and they commented on the video, it popped up in my feed... and there lies the problem. People see it, get outraged and comment that it should be removed and then all their friends get to see it too.

This is a huge problem and cause of most of the issues regarding the videos that get posted on facebook. I don't mind them being on facebook, people need to know what's actually happening in the world and simply blocking and hiding videos doesn't make it so it's never happened. Facebook could have made it much easier to stop them spreading if videos that needed a warning on them, weren't automatically shared to your friends when you comment and weren't allowed to be shared on your own wall. Rather only sharing them with someone else, or via tagging.

I don't mind them being on facebook, people need to know what's actually happening in the world…

I disagree with the first clause, primarily because of the example you posted: a friend of a friend has commented on something so you get it in your feed whether you're interested or not (mostly not). This makes it a problem purely of Facebook's making: you get spammed by people you don't know because they decided you should. This then encourages spamming of people that you don't know because you subsequently comment on it.

I'd rather use Twitter for this kind of information anyway. True, you actively have to seek it out in most cases, but at least that choice remains yours.