This week, Facebook made headlines when it said that a video of a beheading that had gone viral on the network would remain posted. It’s about free expression and not limited users’ rights. Now, after much pressure and criticism, Facebook has reversed that earlier stance as well as pulled the video that prompted the discussion.
While the beheading video is now gone, discussion over what is and isn’t Facebook appropriate continues. To wit, here are some of the things that Facebook has axed in the past – and consider the fact that the network made a statement approving the aforementioned videos, while many of these went quietly into the night with nary a whisper from Facebook.
Some of these deserved to be banished, and others will leave you scratching (or shaking) your head.
This has perhaps become the most noteworthy example of Facebook’s photo pulling spree. Pages and profiles showing photos of breastfeeding mothers saw many of their images disappearing, and its drawn the ire of mothers and supporters everywhere.
… Or at least depictions of it. A college newspaper ran the above image, referring to a story inside about HPV and its link to throat cancer. The image was the student newspaper’s Facebook profile picture, at least until Facebook yanked it.
An unborn baby’s profile
Two Texas soon-to-be parents were so excited about the pending birth of their child that they made a Facebook account for her. They left messages like “Can’t wait to see and hold you!” … and yes, the whole thing is a little cringe-worthy. Facebook thought so too, and got rid of the fetus’ profile. To be fair, you have to be at least 13 to have an account.
Actually, to be more accurate, elbows that look like nipples. This now Internet famous photo was axed after Facebook mistook those two perky elbows for something they definitely were not.
Student on teacher abuse
Students at a school in Scotland were using Facebook to call their teachers pedophiles, as well as accuse them of other unseemly/illegal things. The page was promptly pulled.
Two men kissing
This photo was removed back in 2011, when it was used to promote an event where patrons would same sex kiss at a notoriously homophobic pub. Apparently, Facebook pulled the event – and the photo along with it.
Earlier this year, Florida resident Derek Medina allegedly killed his wife and posted the evidence to Facebook. His profile was quickly (and rightly) pulled.
After pulling photos of breast cancer survivors going topless and bearing their mastectomy scars, Facebook reversed its decision and changed its nudity policy to allow for these images to remain up. The turnabout likely happened as a result of outrage and a petition that gained popularity, but it still shows the users can wield control in some situations.
This particular decision also parallels the beheading case: Sometimes, Facebook changes its mind.