Facebook has a spotty track record of either allowing or banning content on its platform. Just last month, in fact, it censored a blog post that simply showed a photo of a nude statue. However, Facebook made an even more shocking decision this week, allowing graphic videos of beheadings back on the site after they were temporarily banned in May.
Facebook has said that it will allow the videos to remain posted so long as they are condemning and not supporting the violent videos. They also said that they’re considering giving users greater control over what they see, and may include a warning label on violent video clips.
“Facebook has long been a place where people turn to share their experiences, particularly when they’re connected to controversial events on the ground, such as human rights abuses, acts of terrorism and other violent events,” said a Facebook spokesperson. “People are sharing this video on Facebook to condemn it. If the video were being celebrated, or the actions in it encouraged, our approach would be different.”
Privacy advocates have already taken both sides of the issue, with some saying that the videos shouldn’t be allowed on the same website that permits children 13 and older to use it, while others are saying that it’s up to the children’s parents, not Facebook, to police what they see on the site. However, by allowing content this graphic on its pages, Facebook is likely to stir up far more controversy before the dust settles on this issue.