Facebook is once again allowing graphic videos of human beheadings to be posted on the social network. It's a controversial decision, and one that's likely to raise objections from some psychologists and parents who claim that children being exposed to such content can have harmful, long lasting effects. In May, the company bowed to pressure from safety advisors and began removing clips of decapitations. But according to BBC News, Facebook now says its users should have the freedom to view (and hopefully condemn) such violent content. That's the same stance Facebook originally held on the subject.
"While this video is shocking, our approach is designed to preserve people's rights to describe, depict and comment on the world in which we live," the company said back in May, after a video — allegedly filmed somewhere in Mexico — depicted a woman being beheaded by a masked man. Facebook subsequently began removing similarly violent clips while it evaluated its policies. Apparently the company concluded that its initial approach was the right one.
That said, Facebook doesn't want its users coming across graphic images or videos while casually scrolling through their news feed. "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," a spokesperson tells BBC News. Facebook also says it's reserving the right to take down beheading videos, particularly in cases where the subject matter is being glorified. "If the video were being celebrated, or the actions in it encouraged, our approach would be different."