Social media and social responsibility or ‘No I do not ‘like’ murder…’

Well there was me about to quickly approve a couple of comments on here and then lie my sorry self back down on the sofa, but reading the news on my phone while the laptop charged up a story showed itself which is so utterly, frustratingly, head versus wall stupidly argh that I appear to be knocking out a blog post instead.

Facebook. Yep. Apparently it’s ok to share and watch pictures of people being murdered as long as you don’t say that you like watching people being murdered. No. You just watch the murders to reiterate that you don’t like watching murders at all. Confused? I’m not surprised.

After a bit of a debate earlier in May Facebook removed some video footage, one video of which was of a woman being beheaded. Now, it’s decided that actually, having had a little think, it’s perfectly ok to share this video as long as they have a little warning first. The warning is “Warning! This video contains extremely graphic content and may be upsetting.”

May be upsetting. May. A woman having her head cut off.

I write this as someone who a while ago started hiding updates from certain ‘friends’ on Facebook. I didn’t want any fallout from unfriending them, but at the same time having people share very graphic anti-abortion stuff which I would then see on my timeline as I was eating my cornflakes was enough to make me think that I could manage without the updates on their lives. Having avoided all that I know that I certainly don’t want to see shared video footage of a murder popping up on my timeline. I can’t imagine many people do.

Part of me also wonders that if this wasn’t an unknown woman in Mexico, if this was a British person, a British or American woman, there’s no way it would be allowed. But somehow this is ok. It’s fine to watch a woman be murdered, as long as you don’t say that you like it. Its fine to share a murder as long as you know that it’s graphic, that a woman having her head cut off might be upsetting for some people. Like maybe the woman’s family. As long as we all get a look, all get to share it then it’s fine. Maybe it’s only me who likes multi-nationals to care about social responsibility.


  1. 22nd October 2013 / 7:13 pm

    Oh wow, thats just horrific! Does anyone working at Facebook have any morals left?

    • Kate
      23rd October 2013 / 6:28 pm

      I can only presume they are thinking freedom of speech, but it’s not the same as how I view it…

  2. 22nd October 2013 / 11:47 pm

    It’s absolutely wrong. It’s terrible. And I agree with you – if it was a British or American woman they wouldn’t dare let it be shown. How do they stop kids from watching it too? As a TV journalist in the field (including covering wars) and a news editor for 17 years, these were not images we ever let air. You can tell the story without graphic violence such as this. Makes me furious with Facebook. I’m glad you’ve spoken out.

    • Kate
      23rd October 2013 / 6:32 pm

      Thanks Kriss, really interested in your point about journalism as I wondered if a news programme would show these images, I didn’t think they would but even if they did it would be in the context of why it has happened rather than just something random to watch. Either way it’s pretty awful.

  3. 23rd October 2013 / 7:22 am

    Apart from the very moral issue – has Facebook put a block so that all its 13-18 year olds cannot see it! Absolutely disgusting. 🙁

    • Kate
      23rd October 2013 / 6:33 pm

      I totally forgot about how young people can sign up to Facebook too! And of course there’s the issue of children younger than that joining. Sure not psychologically good for young people to see something like that.

  4. 23rd October 2013 / 10:58 am

    I couldn’t agree more. It is just sensation seeking and disgusting.

  5. Nikki Hayes
    23rd October 2013 / 12:22 pm

    My issue with the beheading videos is that some Facebook users are children – they do after all allow anyone 13+ (or who SAYS they are) to open an account. There is a lot of stuff on Facebook that is unsuitable for this age group but I find these videos particularly offensive – showing people being killed on a forum where children are allowed to be is a step too far. They had the right idea when they banned this type of video, what on earth made them think it was a good idea to reverse it? I get what you say about the anti-abortion stuff, many of my Facebook friends are American and the amount of assorted religious bullshit I see in my feed is beyond belief – I’ve learned to ignore it.

    • Kate
      23rd October 2013 / 6:43 pm

      See, the husband works for a church and yet he would never share something on FB that other people would find offensive. (Although admittedly he doesn’t really have any offensive views that I’m aware of!) I think some people are just so wrapped up in what they like they don’t stop to think about the effect it could have on others.

  6. 23rd October 2013 / 2:28 pm

    This is disgusting, and a shocking reflection on society, well, some of today’s society. And I’m totally with you on that ridiculous comment ‘may’ be upsetting. Just awful.

  7. 23rd October 2013 / 7:39 pm

    I don’t agree with censoring just because some people find something offensive (it’s too subjective a term). However, a beheading is a brutal, horrific act and should never be passed on for ‘viewing’ in this way. It blurs the boundaries between what’s real and fictional; what’s publicly acceptable and what should always be shown in a light that condemns. Facebook have been deeply irresponsible. I really hope it’s not a cynical ploy on their part, to drum up publicity…..

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