Facebook is juggling some interesting double standards right now.
It doesn't want its users to come across anything that may horrify them, like say, a live video of a beheading, but it also wants users to know that if they happen to have a cool beheading video they want to share, then by all means, they should upload away!
In bid to appease both the beheading naysayers and the beheading enthusiasts, Facebook says it will work on ways to "warn" people about the content they might see on the social media mega forum that has over one billion users.
Back in May, Facebook banned graphic content on Facebook following complaints about videos that showed people getting their heads chopped off. This was only a temporary ban, however, and earlier this week, the company lifted the ban. Why? As suggested by Facebook spokesperson Matt Steinfeld, it's complicated.
Facebook is looking to "take a more holistic look at the context surrounding a violent image or video, and will remove content that celebrates violence," Steinfeld says. Here's where it gets tricky. While the company shakes its head (it still has one!) at violence for the sake of violence, it looks to welcome content Steinfeld describes as "of public interest or concern."
Both of these sentiments need much more explaining in order to be grasped, and it's likely that the company is still figuring out how to clarify either side. It sounds like it comes down to intention. Probably Facebook wants users to have the freedom to share say, a BBC clip of a war scene, which is intended to be informative, but prohibit a posting of that same video re-edited, sped-up, and set to a Slayer song by some teenager in his basement.
If this is the case, Facebook has a lot of work ahead of them. Not only will it need to sift through every single video upload containing graphic content, it will need to make iffy judgment calls on the meaning behind things, which is pretty murky waters for social media.
Edited by Blaise McNamee