SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Facebook Inc removed a video of a woman being beheaded from its website on Tuesday and said it would use a broader set of criteria to determine when gory videos are permitted on the site.
The move came a day after a public outcry over news reports that Facebook, the world’s No. 1 social network with 1.15 billion members, had lifted a temporary ban on images of graphic violence.
Facebook said on Monday that gory videos, such as a video of a masked man beheading a woman in Mexico, are permitted on its site so long as the content is posted in a manner intended for its users to “condemn” the acts rather than celebrate them.
But Facebook said on Tuesday that it had decided to “strengthen” its enforcement of the policy.
“When we review content that is reported to us, we will take a more holistic look at the context surrounding a violent image or video,” Facebook said in a statement.
“Second, we will consider whether the person posting the content is sharing it responsibly, such as accompanying the video or image with a warning and sharing it with an age-appropriate audience,” Facebook said.
The change underscores a challenge for Facebook as it seeks to position itself as the go-to online destination where people share up-to-the-minute images and discuss breaking news events.
While Facebook polices its site to remove pornography, hate speech and other forbidden content, the company must also make a judgment about when certain grizzly images, such as video of a terrorist attack, are in the public interest versus being shared for “sadistic pleasure.”
Facebook acknowledged on Tuesday that its previous approach, which permitted the video of the woman’s killing in Mexico to remain on its site, was flawed.
“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,” the company said.