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Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

Beheading Videos Coming To A Facebook News Feed Near You

David Tobia |
October 21, 2013 | 1:01 p.m. PDT

Executive Producer

Facebook (Wikimedia Commons)
Facebook (Wikimedia Commons)
Facebook boasts more than 1.1 billion active users, and while scrolling their News Feeds, these users may soon see a video of a beheading sprinkled between travel pics and Buzzfeed articles. 

Facebook banned decapitation videos in May because apparently some people preferred not to stumble into dismembered heads during their lunch breaks. But now Facebook is reversing the ban, saying people have the right to watch and criticize such videos. 

The person who posts decapitation videos cannot celebrate or post positive comments, reports the BBC; so basically terrorist organizations can post their murders as long as they pretend to not support it?

READ MORE: Why Did Facebook Update It's Privacy Settings For Teens? 

Decapitation videos are not rare on the Internet, and can be found everywhere from the deep web to YouTube. But Facebook is a site dedicated to sharing, not search, and allowing this type of content on Facebook may allow graphic videos to gain a viral reach. 

The announcement also strangely comes at the same time as Facebook considers opening its site to children under 13. Facebook has notoriously had a 13-and-over age policy and has enforced it similarly to NYPD officers cracking down on jaywalking. With children so easily able to game the system, Facebook may want to implement a more controlled system, perhaps with different regulations for different age groups.

Turning 13 doesn't mean beheadings become less traumatizing, but arbitrary guidelines are a staple of society, and this may be one way Facebook keeps its more graphic content away from younger users. 

Facebook will likely receive more negative than positive attention as graphic videos begin appearing, but Facebook knows this and has decided to favor Internet freedom over censorship. That's fine and their prerogative. Don't like it, don't use Facebook. But please Facebook, don't let decapitation videos show up on the News Feeds 8-year-olds.

Reach Executive Producer David Tobia here or follow him on Twitter.

 David Tobia



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