Facebook has removed one video of a beheading that was posted on the free-content ad-network – and told its users to be more "responsible" about the material they dump on the site.
The decision to yank the clip came after Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron attacked Facebook for allowing such material to be published and viewed by millions of people around the world.
He said on Tuesday that it was "irresponsible of Facebook to post beheading videos, especially without a warning. They must explain their actions to worried parents."
Initially, Facebook defended the video by arguing - on the grounds of public interest - that it had been posted for the sole purpose of allowing people to condemn the clip, which appeared to show a man killing a woman in Mexico.
The company's policy on violent, graphic images remains unchanged, however.
Facebook responds to controversial images, posts and videos found on the network only after users send in complaints about the material they have viewed on Mark Zuckerberg's siloed network.
An unknown number of moderators based in Ireland, India and the US routinely deal with those reports and then take the necessary action based on Facebook's guidelines on content.
Late yesterday, Facebook confirmed it was "strengthening the enforcement of [its] policies" in light of Cameron's criticism about the beheading vid.
Facebook said in a blog post:
First, when we review content that is reported to us, we will take a more holistic look at the context surrounding a violent image or video, and will remove content that celebrates violence.
Second, we will consider whether the person posting the content is sharing it responsibly, such as accompanying the video or image with a warning and sharing it with an age-appropriate audience.
But the onus is still, unsurprisingly, on users to adhere to Facebook's community standards about what material is deemed acceptable to share on the network.
Menlo Park reversed its decision and removed the offending video that rankled with the PM's sensibility, after it decided that the vid did in fact "glorify violence". But it's still easy to find clips of human heads being decapitated on Facebook.
The company added:
Going forward, we ask that people who share graphic content for the purpose of condemning it do so in a responsible manner, carefully selecting their audience and warning them about the nature of the content so they can make an informed choice about it.
Hardly a change in existing policy, then. Facebook, with every painstaking word of its statement, continues to insist that it is not the publisher. It would prefer to be seen as a soapbox for commentards the world over to run free. If that generates more ad revenue - all the better. ®