Last updated 5/2/13 11:28 pm
This story is filled with depictions of death and other adult content. Please do not continue if you are sensitive to depictions of death and mutilation. Parental discretion is advised.
Tonight a friend of mine on Facebook shared a video that she thought was disgusting. I’m not sure why she shared the video, but I watched it to see what the outrage was about. What I saw was absolutely disgusting. The video depicts a young woman who has her hands tied behind her back while sitting on her knees. A man in a mask is holding her hair. [Stop now if you are not an adult or are sensitive.] The man begins to cut the woman’s throat. He repeatedly moves around her neck with the knife slashing and cutting. Eventually, he cuts through her entire neck and removes her head. In the end, he holds her head up for the camera to see.
This is not the first beheading video I’ve seen, I’ve seen videos of terrorists beheading people in the past. It literally turns my stomach. The fact that people further this garbage by sharing it online is just as bad. What really disgusts me is the response from Facebook in regards to the video. At least one person I spoke with about the video said they immediately reported it to Facebook as graphic violence. She received a response from Facebook shortly after she reported the video and here is their response:
This is incredible. According to Facebook, a video of a woman being beheaded does not violate their policy against videos depicting graphic violence? Seriously? Beheading a woman doesn’t violate your policy, but a woman breastfeeding does? I can’t say that the video is real, but I also can’t say it’s fake. Either way, it depicts extremely graphic violence. Remember that this video is out there for children as young as 13 to watch. And, let’s be honest, there are plenty of children under 13 on Facebook as well.
I checked Facebook community standards to determine why they say it doesn’t violate their policy. This is the policy:
“We understand that graphic imagery is a regular component of current events, but must balance the needs of a diverse community. Sharing any graphic content for sadistic pleasure is prohibited.”
The fact that the person that posted it posed the question about whether this guy belongs in jail or not makes no difference. This video does not belong on a social networking site. The person whom I spoke with received her response shortly after 7 p.m. est this evening. As of 10:45 p.m. est the video is still available. I have chosen not to share a link or the video because we at TACD are not interested in perpetuating the glorification of this type of violence. A screenshot of the video (before the graphic violence which we will not show) is below.
Many of the comments on the video are from people who are disgusted that it is on Facebook. Multiple questions have been posed as to how it has not been removed. Some people said that the video made them physically ill. At this time, Facebook has not responded to requests for comment about the video and their refusal to remove it. Updates will be published as they are available.
Find more details on Dean Spencer’s blog The Evolution of Reason
Update 4/27/13 – 1:21 am
According to the person who posted the video, it was posted because he believes the police should see the video and he wants the person who committed the act to be brought to justice. When asked if he believed the video to be real, he said that he believes it is. His understanding is that someone in the victim’s family didn’t pay a debt to the killer on time so he found a family member to punish. When confronted with the fact that the video can be viewed by under-age children, the poster said that they could see this on the internet regardless of whether he posted it. His final message about the video…”justice should come into this”.
Update 4/30/13 – 3:22 pm
There has still not been any response from Facebook about the video or their refusal to remove it. Some readers have expressed a desire for something to be done to get the video removed. If we have seen anything in the last few years, it is the power of the people on social media. One visitor to this article posted on my blog offered a petition that has been started to get the video removed:
Others have mentioned forwarding the article to the mainstream media and Facebook public relations. I encourage anyone who wants to work at this to share the story. If it is picked up by major news outlets it may illicit a real response from Facebook. Copy the address below and email to them, post it on their Facebook and Twitter pages, and sign the petition. Force Facebook to acknowledge the people and give us a real response.
Update 5/2/13 11:28 pm:
Sorry to be late to the party on the update. In case you haven’t heard, Facebook made a sudden reversal of its position and has decided to remove the video and others like it. The BBC reported that they issued a statement on their original decision to leave the video up:
“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.”
Eventually, they relented. This was partially due to pressure from outside organizations. At least one member of Facebook’s safety advisory board was also appalled by the video. Here is the statement they issued on the removal of the videos:
“We will remove instances of these videos that are reported to us while we evaluate our policy and approach to this type of content.”
The problem I have is that Facebook was not proactive enough to understand that you don’t have to show this kind of graphic violence to condemn it. I will condemn rape with every breath I have, but I don’t need to show a woman getting raped to do it. They should also understand that people will share this kind of video to entertain themselves. To avoid having their videos removed all they had to do was put a statement with it looking for condemnation. According to their policy, I could have put any video of murder up with the tag “This is terrible!”
This shows a terrible lack of foresight on behalf of Facebook. As the largest social networking site, they should understand that this kind of material is unacceptable, no matter what tag line the poster includes. The fact that they know there are millions of children under the age of 13 on the site takes their refusal to act borderline negligent.