Feeds

Facebook: Yeah, we'll ban chainsaw beheading vids - when journos call us

Regular stalkbook users? You're out of luck... bitch

High performance access to file storage

Facebook has agreed to ban a bloody and disturbing video of two men being decapitated with a chainsaw and a second vid depicting a woman being beheaded by a masked man - after initially refusing to ban the clips. The social network appears to have experienced this change of heart after it was contacted by journalists.

A concerned Register reader told us he had reported the first video after it popped up on his timeline, fully expecting it to be banned from the site.

But the social network wrote back to him to say it would not be removing the footage.

Facebook told him: "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."

However, when El Reg contacted Facebook, the firm replied: "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 first video shows two men kneeling against a wall and pale with fear. A man with a chainsaw enters the shot and proceeds to decapitate the pair, who flail in agony with blood spurting from their necks. It is a truly horrifying piece of footage depicting what seems like an execution.

The video has been shared more than 10,000 times and almost 3,000 people have clicked the "Like" button.

Our reader was shocked after watching just part of the video.

"This content is highly offensive to normal, thinking people," he said. "I don't know the poster and frankly I don't want to. It's Facebook's response I am disgusted with.

"I am at outraged that such content should be available. A friend of mine commented on it and so it appeared in my timeline. This could obviously happen to people much more impressionable than myself. Being 38, I've seen some things, but a child could see this. It's just not right."

"Facebook's policies need a serious kick up the backside. As they refuse to do anything about it, I was hoping you could provide the boot to do the aforementioned kicking of the backside with."

The person who posted the video claims to be a young man based in Malaysia, although we cannot verify if the name he gives is genuine. As well as the video nasty, the user has posted images of "himself" (we cannot verify the identity of the person in the photograph) playing computer games, riding a rollercoaster and eating a McDonald's takeaway. In one post, he announces he is single and looking for love, illustrating this cri de coeur with two red heart emoticons.

The user's wall is now filled with enraged comments from people who are appalled at the footage. One Facebook user wrote: "Are you sick in the head? Why are you posting things like this?"

Another wrote: "What makes it worse is that you're profiting from the amount of followers you've gained by posting a horrifying video on Facebook and getting people to pay £1.47 to inbox you, at the expense of two people's brutal murders."

Before its U-turn, a Facebook rep had also initially confirmed to the BBC, which also covered the story this morning, that it had opted to leave such material online. A rep told the Beeb: "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."

Presumably that's a world in which women don't breastfeed.

Facebook has previously drawn criticism for taking down innocent images, such as breastfeeding mums and nude pictures from an exhibition at the New York Academy of Art.

Laura Bates, from the Everyday Sexism Project, has been campaigning against violent pages on Facebook. Bates claimed she had been struggling to get the second video, which depicts a women being beheaded by knife, taken down.

She said: "Facebook's policies seem to be extremely unclear and inconsistent. Their stance on graphic material and content depicting domestic violence and rape is starkly at odds with their frequent removal of images showing women breastfeeding, artistic images of the female body and pictures of women post-mastectomy, among others. To continue to censor these images while suggesting that a video of a woman being beheaded does not contravene their terms appears to suggest that the female body is more offensive and outrageous than the portrayal of harm being done to women."

Her group has been contacting Facebook advertisers to warn them their corporate messages sit alongside pages promoting domestic violence.

She added: "I would like to see Facebook make a clear public statement about its stance on pages promoting misogyny, rape and violence towards women, and create a much clearer message within its community standards stating that such images will not be accepted. At the moment, they continue to present an extremely cowardly and hypocritical stance by refusing to engage with the thousands of women who have contacted them about this problem, and quietly removing photos and videos when they are featured in articles in the press even after refusing to do so when users have requested their removal beforehand."

We understand that the second video has also since been removed.

According to a report in Gawker, Facebook outsources its censorship by asking external moderators to inspect content. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Audio fans, prepare yourself for the Second Coming ... of Blu-ray
High Fidelity Pure Audio – is this what your ears have been waiting for?
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Apple DOMINATES the Valley, rakes in more profit than Google, HP, Intel, Cisco COMBINED
Cook & Co. also pay more taxes than those four worthies PLUS eBay and Oracle
It may be ILLEGAL to run Heartbleed health checks – IT lawyer
Do the right thing, earn up to 10 years in clink
France bans managers from contacting workers outside business hours
«Email? Mais non ... il est plus tard que six heures du soir!»
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.