Sunday, April 20, 2014

Facebook allows violent videos

The social media giant has amended its previous ban on graphic content based on member feedback

Facebook has for a long time been at the forefront of social media, garnering hundreds of millions of users on its website. According to Internet World Stats, Facebook recorded 1.11 billion users in March 2013, reaching more than 130 countries.

 DISLIKE — Facebook struggles to keep its image amidst controversy.  Google Images

DISLIKE — Facebook struggles to keep its image amidst controversy. Google Images

However, amid Facebook’s apparent success, the social media giant is in a dilemma over whether or not it should allow graphic videos to be posted on its website.

Following Facebook’s announcement declaring that it will lift a ban on graphic videos, including beheadings, the social media site has now gone back on its statement, removing a particularly violent video of a Mexican woman being beheaded by a masked man.

According to Alexei Oreskovic, a journalist for Reuters, Facebook admitted its imperfections.

“Facebook acknowledged on Tuesday that its previous approach, which permitted the video of the woman’s killing in Mexico to remain on its site, was flawed,” Oreskovic said.

In a recent press release highlighting its policy change, Facebook acknowledged a change in procedure when dealing with violent content. In the release, Facebook said it permits such videos on its website so that users may condemn such acts of extreme violence, not celebrate them.

“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,” it said. “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.”

After the upset regarding the particular beheading video, Facebook representatives released follow-up commentary.

“Based on these enhanced standards, we have re-examined recent reports of graphic content and have concluded that this content improperly and irresponsibly glorifies violence. For this reason, we have removed it.”

As I watch Facebook attempt to regain control of its image, I wonder what our world will be like 10 years from now. If the largest social media site needs to figure out whether it should allow beheadings to be posted, what will I see in the next few years?

I could not help but question why we need to watch a beheading to condemn it. It is almost comical when you think about it. Only if our users condemn the action will we allow it. Any celebration, and we zap the video, okay?

I believe this is only a warning flare of a deeper problem our society is facing. Even though Facebook is making human interaction more possible in places thought impossible, it is doing something that is not so readily recognizable. I believe it is leaving us lonely and incomplete, replacing face-to-face time with something far less substantial.

Only when we become aware of the corrosion that is eating its way through our culture will we realize our flaws and turn toward what we were founded on as a nation — that we are endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights and that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Like Rand Paul said in his quote of author and social critic Os Guinness at Liberty University’s Convocation last Monday, Oct. 28, there is something that jeopardizes our nation beyond enemies across the waters.

“I believe that America is in a full blown spiritual crisis,” Paul said. “The problem, as Os Guinness puts it, is not wolves at the door, but termites in the floor.”

My prayer is that, as a nation, we will once again find what made our country so blessed. Not arguing over what to post on Facebook or who is more popular than the other person, but what makes a person a unique individual capable of great things.

“…Those of us who love freedom must realize that freedom is not a license to do as you please,” Paul said. “Freedom can only be realized when citizens know self-restraint or, put another way, virtue. What America needs is not another politician. What America needs is a revival.”

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