Facebook has backtracked on its policy on violent and offensive content, after mounting pressure from politicians and the public over a video showing the beheading of a woman by a Mexican drug cartel on its site.
The move comes just 24 hours after the social network said it would start allowing graphic clips on its site again, arguing that its millions of users – some of whom are as young as 13 – should be allowed to watch the gruesome footage as long as they “condemn” it.
The decision was described as “irresponsible” by David Cameron, while The Guardian’s Jonathan Freedland called it “spectacularly wrong”.
Following the outcry, Facebook has now issued a statement saying: “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,” the company said in a statement. “People share videos of these events on Facebook to condemn them. If they were being celebrated, or the actions in them encouraged, our approach would be different.”
Facebook now says that it has strengthened its the violent image and video sharing policies. It will be a taking more “holistic” approach while considering the posting of a violent image or video on its website and will ensure that the user who shares such content provides with a warning or limits its view only to an age-appropriate audience.