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Facebook backtracks again on decision to allow controversial beheading video

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Mark Zuckerberg Facebook Stock
Mark Zuckerberg Facebook Stock

Facebook has altered its stance on the issue of violent viral videos once again. Yesterday, it emerged that the social network was allowing clips of beheadings to be shared on users' news feeds after a six-month moratorium, taking the stance that "Facebook has long been a place where people turn to share their experiences, particularly when they're connected to controversial events on the ground." But now Facebook has performed another U-turn by removing a graphic clip that depicts a beheading allegedly carried out in Mexico, as noted by All Things D.

"We... have concluded that this content improperly and irresponsibly glorifies violence."

In a statement, Facebook says that it now considers the video in question to "improperly and irresponsibly glorify violence." The company previously used that line of reasoning as justification for keeping the video online in the first place, arguing that "if the video were being celebrated, or the actions in it encouraged, our approach would be different."

While Facebook appears to have changed its mind on the merits of certain content, it will still allow violent clips that have been uploaded for the purpose of condemnation. However, it now asks that users "do so in a responsible manner, carefully selecting their audience and warning them about the nature of the content so they can make an informed choice about it." The company had previously hinted that it would consider implementing a system of advance warnings for graphic content.

Update: BBC News reports that Facebook dropped its ban on violent clips back in July — three months after it originally went into effect — but "did not think the public would be interested to know" at the time.