Facebook has always (and will continue) to remove content which glorifies or encourages violence, but since May of this year, they have also banned videos and images which depict violence in a negative light.  Specifically, they blocked videos of beheadings, even when the videos were not supporting the violence in any way.  Facebook has lifted the ban on these types of videos.  As long as the video or image is posted in a way which does not encourage violence, or show it in a way which could indicate support of the violence, they will likely stay up.  At least for now.

According to a spokeswomen from Facebook, “If the video were being celebrated, or the actions in it encouraged, our approach would be different.” This is about as clear as Facebook is getting when it comes to where the line will be drawn between acceptable and unacceptable violent videos.  If, for example, a disclaimer is placed on a video of a beheading, it will likely be allowed to stay, but the same video with no warning, may be taken down.

The change in policy has sparked a number of digital protests and a lot of complaining by people around the world.  Even the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, said, “It’s irresponsible of Facebook to post beheading videos, especially without a warning.  They must explain their actions to worried parents.” This comment was made via his twitter account.

All websites, Facebook included, have always struggled to know where the censorship line should be drawn.  Sites like Facebook, which have millions of younger users, have to look at this type of thing especially closely.  A 13 year old Facebook user, for example, could be traumatized by seeing some of the beheading videos available online.  At the same time, Facebook clearly wants to allow as much content as possible on their sites.

The debate is far from over, and Facebook has said that their policies are not set in stone, and will continue to be reviewed in the future.

What do you think of this move by Facebook?  Is Facebook the right place for these types of videos, or should they be blocked once again?

What's your opinion?