Facebook reverses stance on decapitation videos

As recently as Monday, Facebook defended its decision to not ban a grisly video of a man decapitating a kneeling woman.


Kevin Collier

Internet Culture

Published May 1, 2013   Updated Jun 1, 2021, 5:02 pm CDT

Facebook will no longer let you post videos of people getting their heads chopped off.

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More specifically, the company has reversed an odd, previously held position: that decapitation videos didn’t violate its standards on graphic content.

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As recently as Monday, Facebook defended its decision to not ban a grisly video of a man, purportedly a Mexican gangster, decapitating a kneeling woman. More than 40,000 people shared the video. At the time, Facebook said:

“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.”

Perhaps buoyed by complaints that other depictions of beheadings had been removed, that stance is no more. Cutting someone’s head off now violates Facebook’s community standards.

“We will remove instances of these videos that are reported to us while we evaluate our policy and approach to this type of content,” a Facebook representative said, according to the BBC.

As of this writing, Facebook still doesn’t allow pictures of women breastfeeding.

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Photo via Wikimedia Commons

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*First Published: May 1, 2013, 5:38 pm CDT