Facebook Starts Restriction on Violent Images

Facebook has started to place warnings over violent videos posted on the social media platform stating their contents might “shock, offend and upset” if viewed.

Facebook says potentially distressing video clips would henceforth be covered by a warning that stops them from auto-playing unless they are clicked.

The site is also preventing graphic videos and photos from being shown to users who have identified themselves as being less than 18 years old.

Among the first posts to be affected are uploaded files containing video clips showing the murder of Ahmed Merabet, a policeman being shot dead in Paris by a terrorist in last week’s Charlie Hebdo attacks.

Over recent years, Facebook has repeatedly faced criticisms for allowing violent and graphic images it deems to be of public interest or concern to remain on its pages while it has resisted calls to censor violent clips by outright banning.

Although the social media site’s guidelines ban material “shared for sadistic pleasure or to celebrate or glorify violence,” it allows news reports and other documentary images depicting beheadings and other types of murder to remain online.

Facebook has now confirmed that it began rolling out the new scheme in December 2014. The firm’s engineers were still looking to further improve the scheme, which applies to graphic material reported to the firm by its users that is judged to have been posted in an irresponsible manner.

A spokesperson for Facebook said in instances when people report graphic content that should include warnings or is not appropriate for people under the age of 18, the site may add a warning for adults and prevent young people from viewing such content.

This might later include adding warnings to relevant YouTube videos, which is not currently possible.

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