Facebook has always been a place for people to come together to connect, communicate, and share ideas with each other. Unfortunately, the company’s recent decision to allow a video, which features a woman being beheaded by a masked man in Mexico to resurface on the website after a temporary ban in May has made myself and others reevaluate the online giant’s initial function.
Facebook’s terms and condition state that they do not allow “content that contains self-harm or excessive violence,” which contradicts their decisions to allow graphically violent videos to resurface. Facebook should also prevent this video from being accessed, because users as young as 13 are allowed to sign up for an account.
There are always going to be grotesque and inappropriate things all over the Internet, but that doesn’t mean those things need to be accessed on the pinnacle of social networking sites, Facebook. Just because underage Isla Vistans find their way to alcohol and illicit drugs like marijuana doesn’t mean we need to start selling them at the Arbor.
Facebook stated in a response to the recent criticism that, “People are sharing this video on Facebook to condemn it. If the video were being celebrated, or the actions in it encouraged, our approach would be different.” I don’t know about you, but the title of the uploaded video last week was “Challenge: Anybody can watch this video?”. The title is misleading and almost a tease to viewers, as if calling them chicken for not being able to watch the whole video. The title sensationalizes the murder, and whoever posted the video did it solely for the entertainment of any callous mind that came across it.
Comments on the video said that the video was so horrifying that the commenters could not continue watching after only a few seconds. The psychological impact on the youths who find their way to the video can only be imagined. Children have developing minds that are prone to psychological stress, especially when they are confronted with traumatic events or images. Facebook really needs to tighten up their policies, as cliché as it, “for the sake of our children.”
On top of all that, where is the humanity of watching someone being executed by getting their head cut off with a knife, while you’re sitting in your boxers eating a bag of Doritos? People are not only becoming desensitized to violence from this video, but to murder as well. Desensitization fosters a sense of indifference and apathy toward violence and murder, which ultimately inhibits a person’s ability to empathize with the pain of others.
Jeremie Zimmermann, the co-founder of the French digital rights group La Quadrature du Net, believes it is up to Facebook to use their discretion, and adds that “only a judicial authority should be able to restrict fundamental freedoms according to the rule of law.”
I believe that the argument for freedom of the press and freedom of speech is credible, but we need to draw a line for what is appropriate and what isn’t. We need to look at the finer details and consequences of Facebook’s actions, as they play a major role in our society.
Facebook has become a platform for all types of professionals to connect with clients and other businesses. People’s grandparents from foreign countries have Facebook accounts so that they can stay connected with their families overseas. The fact that Facebook has reached over 1.11 billion users worldwide really shows how much of an impact the company has on society today. Facebook needs to reverse their decision to allow the video on the site, because the site must abide by a certain worldwide standard.