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.
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. ®