BUSINESS

Facebook Beheading Video Ban Lifted

10/22/2013 12:15 EDT | Updated 10/23/2013 11:08 EDT

It's all right to post videos of people getting beheaded on Facebook again.

The social media giant has reportedly lifted its prohibition on grisly killings, adding just one caveat.

Content must be posted so as to invite condemnation, the Guardian reports, rather than celebration.

"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," the company said in a statement.

"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."

In any case, Facebook's move itself has become the object of strong condemnation.

"It only takes seconds of exposure to such graphic material to leave a permanent trace -- particularly in a young person's mind," Arthur Cassidy of the Irish suicide prevention group Yellow Ribbon Program told BBC News.

"The more graphic and colourful the material is, the more psychologically destructive it becomes."

Colin Freeman, the Telegraph's chief foreign correspondent, wrote a pointed response -- detailing his own experience at the hands of kidnappers.

"Five years ago, I was kidnapped in Somalia , spending six weeks in a cave with in the company of a bunch of armed lunatics," he wrote. "To my immense relief, they turned out to be pirates rather than jihadists – despite their habit of praying five times a day – and I was fairly confident that they wouldn't ever be getting the video camera, sword and black banner out."

Freeman added, "Yes, I am one of the lucky ones. Other hostages aren't so fortunate, though, and I can't help wondering whether those who end up beheaded would be that happy that their personal snuff movies were being bandied around on Facebook."

As Reuters reports, Facebook banned graphic violence in posts earlier this year -- after a raft of complaints about certain posts. Although the ban has been lifted, the company maintains that hate speech, sexually explicit images or anything deemed threatening to others is off limits.

Currently, Facebook restricts membership to people over the age of 13. But that, too, may be changing.

Earlier this week, the company's manager of privacy and safety Nicky Jackson Colaco told The Canadian Press, dropping the age restriction -- with specific conditions -- is a possibility.

"It's something we've thought a lot about, we've actually been asked by a lot of different people to open up the site."

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