UK & World News
Facebook Pulls Beheading Video After Backlash
Facebook has backed down over the posting of videos depicting beheadings after being branded "irresponsible" by Prime Minister David Cameron.
The social media website said it had "re-examined" the issue and removed a beheading video after concluding that it "improperly and irresponsibly glorifies violence".
It vowed to "strengthen the enforcement" of policies on graphic content, removing posts which celebrate violence and taking into account whether they are being shared "responsibly".
This could include warnings about their content or blocking underage viewers from accessing them.
Mr Cameron welcomed the move, but made clear he would be waiting to see whether the new approach was sufficient to protect children from being exposed to the gory films.
He wrote on Twitter: "I'm pleased Facebook has changed its approach on beheading videos. The test is now to ensure their policy is robust in protecting children."
Facebook sparked a storm when it lifted a temporary ban imposed in May on beheading videos, on the grounds that the site is used to share information about world events.
The ban was sparked by complaints over a video of a woman being beheaded by a Mexican drug cartel, but has now been removed.
The company said it would still take down posts which celebrated or encouraged beheadings, but critics called for a rethink.
Mr Cameron said: "It's irresponsible of Facebook to post beheading videos, especially without a warning. They must explain their actions to worried parents."
The company has now issued a new statement, clarifying its policy.
It said: "People turn to Facebook to share their experiences and to 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, acts of terrorism and other violence.
"When people share this type of graphic content, it is often to condemn it. If it is being shared for sadistic pleasure or to celebrate violence, Facebook removes it.
"As part of our effort to combat the glorification of violence on Facebook, we are strengthening the enforcement of our policies.
"First, when we review content that is reported to us, we will take a more holistic look at the context surrounding a violent image or video, and will remove content that celebrates violence.
"Second, we will consider whether the person posting the content is sharing it responsibly, such as accompanying the video or image with a warning and sharing it with an age-appropriate audience.
"Based on these enhanced standards, we have re-examined recent reports of graphic content and have concluded that this content improperly and irresponsibly glorifies violence. For this reason, we have removed it.
"Going forward, we ask that people who share graphic content for the purpose of condemning it do so in a responsible manner, carefully selecting their audience and warning them about the nature of the content so they can make an informed choice about it."