This morning my request to Facebook to remove a graphic beheading video was denied. The video appeared yesterday afternoon, doing the rounds on multiple social media sites. The site in question features macabre photo galleries of extremists decapitating helpless victims; in the name of promoting Islamophobia.
It is truly disturbing. So is Facebook’s response:
“Thank you for taking the time to report something that you feel may violate our Community Standards. Reports like yours are an important part of making Facebook a safe and welcoming environment.
We reviewed the share you reported for containing graphic violence and found it doesn’t violate our Community standards.”
So I had a look at the Community Standards:
Facebook has long been a place where people turn to share their experiences and 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 or acts of terrorism. In many instances, when people share this type of content, it is to condemn it. However, graphic images shared for sadistic effect or to celebrate or glorify violence have no place on our site.
When people share any content, we expect that they will share in a responsible manner. That includes choosing carefully the audience for the content. For graphic videos, people should warn their audience about the nature of the content in the video so that their audience can make an informed choice about whether to watch it.”
To say that this Community Standard is flaky to say the least, it’s lawyer-written garble to say “Facebook’s Law”. Having unfortunately visited the website in question I would say images are shared for sadistic effect, promoting an equally dangerous view of Islamophobia in the UK. Watching these videos can only be of sadistic interest. And in all of this, note the helpless victim pushed to the ground with a machete above his neck doesn’t get a single say.
It’s surprising that Facebook’s policy on nudity is a lot more clear-cut. Even though I would rather see a porn star on my news feed than a murder. A friend of mine recently had a picture of her semi-nude baby removed by Facebook — it really was innocent. Priorities?
The censorship of certain content on social media has long been a contentious issue. As an advocate for freedom of expression, a supporter of the Liberal Democrats blocking the snooper’s charter, it pains me to admit some content should be censored.