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Gory videos OK when posted for users to 'condemn': Facebook

The Facebook logo is pictured at the Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, California January 29, 2013. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith
The Facebook logo is pictured at the Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, California January 29, 2013. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith

By Alexei Oreskovic

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Facebook Inc has surreptitiously resumed allowing decapitation videos to be posted on its website, lifting a temporary ban it had placed earlier this year on content featuring graphic violence.

The world's largest online social network, with 1.15 billion members, said after a report on the BBC on Monday, that gory photos and videos are permitted on its site so long as the content was posted in a manner intended for its users to "condemn" the acts rather than celebrate them.

"Facebook has long been a place where people turn to share their experiences, particularly when they're connected to controversial events on the ground, such as human rights abuses, acts of terrorism and other violent events," the company said in a statement.

"People share videos of these events on Facebook to condemn them. If they were being celebrated, or the actions in them encouraged, our approach would be different," the statement said.

Facebook said it was working on developing new ways to let users control what content they see, including advance warnings that particular images contain graphic violence.

The BBC reported that many Facebook users were complaining about a video on the site showing a masked man killing a woman in Mexico.

Earlier this year, Facebook placed a temporary ban on content with graphic violence as it examined its policy in the wake of complaints about certain images posted on the website.

Facebook's current community standards forbid users from posting information that is threatening to others, as well as content that includes hate speech or is sexually explicit.

Groups with a record of violence or criminal activity are not allowed to maintain a presence on the site and Facebook says that "sharing any graphic content for sadistic pleasure is prohibited."

(Reporting by Alexei Oreskovic; Editing by Leslie Gevirtz)

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