Facebook is on a roll at the moment, trying to see how many users they can annoy in one month whilst also generating enough media attention for themselves. Any publicity is good publicity, right?
Today Facebook have announced they are going to lift their ban on violent videos. Reason being they want their users to have the choice to view graphically disturbing videos and condemn them. Cast your mind back to last week when Facebook announced they were going to allow their young teenage users (aged 13-17) posts to be made public. With today’s changes all content will be made available to every Facebook user of all ages, though Facebook are considering adding a warning label to such videos to pre warn users that the content they are about to view is of a violent nature.
There is nothing wrong with Facebook to wanting to do their bit to make the world aware of the atrocities that go in the world and asking their users to band together and condemn such actions, but what about the small percentage of people who don’t? What if the video is not related to a human rights cause, what if is linked to victims of crimes. Think back to the cases in America regarding football players sending pictures of their victims via social networks, not all the comments made by other users condemned the actions of the perpetrators. How would Facebook handle such a case? Why is it only violent videos that were previously banned, what about disturbing still images? Last month there was the case of a husband killing his wife then posting a picture of her body onto Facebook.
I honestly do not see the good intentions Facebook claim to have behind this latest announcement. It is more about creating a level of controversy so more people will have the freedom to post and say what they like without Facebook removing posts they deem break their terms and conditions. Yes, users should have the choice and control over which content they chose to view but where do you draw the line against what is socially acceptable viewing and what isn’t?