This week, a brutal and graphic video of a kitten being tortured popped up on Facebook, drawing the outrage of thousands of users. However, when angry users asked Facebook to removed the page, they were told that the site would allow the video to remain posted.
“People come to Facebook to share experiences of the world around them and on occasion this may result in the sharing of content that some may find upsetting,” a spokesperson for the site said. “While we do not allow content that directly encourages violence, we try to create a safe environment that balances people’s desire to express themselves and in some cases condemn what they see.”
The video, which shows two men stuff a cat into a bucket, pour fuel on it and light it on fire, has over 14,000 comments on Facebook, most of which express disgust for the men’s horrific actions. The video appears to have been taken abroad, and features a warning message to users before they watch. However, the fact that it has been allowed to remain raises important questions about Facebook’s Community Standards. What, exactly, does the site define as “world experiences” or a “safe environment?” The site’s policies are frustratingly difficult to understand, and it’s unlikely they’ll give an answer for why this video clears their bar of allowable content. Still, if enough users express outrage, they will likely have no choice but to take it down eventually.