London - Facebook was forced into a partial climbdown over its controversial refusal to remove videos of beheadings on Wednesday.
Although the social networking site stopped short of an outright ban on the horrific videos, it issued new rules about sharing images of extreme violence.
The move was welcomed by British Prime Minister David Cameron, who had accused the site of being irresponsible after it allowed its 1.15 billion users to share graphic footage, including the decapitation of a young Mexican woman.
But Facebook said it had reviewed its policy and removed the Mexican video after ruling it “improperly and irresponsibly glorifies violence”. It said it would strengthen its enforcement of policies on graphic content.
In a message on Twitter, the prime minister said: “I’m pleased Facebook has changed its approach on beheading videos. The test is now to ensure their policy is robust in protecting children.”
Stephen Balkam of the Family Online Safety Institute said he was “encouraged” by Facebook’s policy review.
“At a minimum, if this type of material is to be allowed, it must be in the public interest,” he said. “Also, it should be posted with warning labels to alert users to the nature of the content.”
Facebook said it was “strengthening the enforcement” of policies as part of efforts to combat the glorification of violence.
It said it would review content that has been reported and remove that which celebrates violence. But it will consider whether the person posting it is sharing it “responsibly”, such as including warnings.
It urges that people who share graphic content “for the purpose of condemning it” do so in a responsible manner. - Daily Mail