12:06 22 October 2013
Facebook has made the controversial move of lifting its ban on videos which depict people being decapitated, allowing users to post and share content containing extreme violence.
The social network site enforced a temporary ban back in May after some complained that the real violence could cause psychological damage and distress but Facebook countered that users should be free to watch and "condemn" such acts on their public platform in the same way that news websites do.
Facebook responded: "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.
"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."
Suicide prevention charity Yellow Ribbon Program was quoted by the BBC as blasting the decision: "It only takes seconds of exposure to such graphic material to leave a permanent trace - particularly in a young person's mind.
"The more graphic and colourful the material is, the more psychologically destructive it becomes."
A video showing a woman being beheaded by a Mexican drug cartel has fuelled recent media fires, with many users demanding that the video - and others like - be banned from the site.
Users who complained were sent the following response from the social network giant: "Thanks for your report. We reviewed the video you reported, but found it doesn't violate Facebook's community standard on graphic violence, which includes depicting harm to someone or something, threats to the public's safety, or theft and vandalism.
"People are sharing this video on Facebook to condemn it. Just as TV news programmes often show upsetting images of atrocities, people can share upsetting videos on Facebook to raise awareness of actions or causes.
"While this video is shocking, our approach is designed to preserve people's rights to describe, depict and comment on the world in which we live."
Facebook currently allows any person over the age of 13 to become a free member. The company is considering including advance warnings that some content could contain graphic violence.
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