The Facebook video posted this week depicting the shooting of Philando Castile sent shockwaves through the social media community and raised some questions about what content social media sites can and should censor. Earlier this week videos of the Alton Sterling shooting in which a man was held down and shot by a police officer surfaced. And most recently, a shootout at a Dallas police brutality protest resulting in 5 officers killed was live streamed.
Screenshot from Lavish Reynold’s Facebook Video
Castile’s girlfriend Diamond Reynolds (who goes by Lavish Reynolds on Facebook) posted her live video immediately. However, Mashable reports that it was removed an hour later before being reposted with a graphic content warning. The issue of censorship on social media is becoming increasingly prevalent as the mysterious removal of Reynolds video did not go unnoticed.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg weighed in on the issue but didn’t comment on the video being removed. You can see his statement below.
The team at Facebook told Mashable that the video being deleted was a “technical glitch.” Facebook’s Community Guidelines states that,
“Sometimes, [content posted to Facebook involves] violence and graphic images of public interest or concern, such as human rights abuses or acts of terrorism. In many instances, when people share this type of content, they are condemning it or raising awareness about it. We remove graphic images when they are shared for sadistic pleasure or to celebrate or glorify violence.” It then goes on to say that they, “ask that people warn their audience about they are about to see if it includes graphic violence.”
Facebook understands the importance of the freedom of sharing such graphic videos when it is used to condemn acts of violence but does not support it when it glorifies violence. Mashable also says that when a video gets reported too many times, it has to go through a formal review which is meant to follow the Community Guidelines but is ultimately at the discretion of the editor on the receiving end of the report. That is probably what happened here with the end result being the addition of a warning for graphic content.
Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.
(Photo: JD Lasica)