Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Facebook Refuses to Remove Baby Beating Video

Facebook Refuses to Remove Baby Beating Video
What does it take for Facebook to remove a post that shows explicit violence against a baby? Is the decision based on a certain standard at Facebook? Or is the decision left entirely up to the moderator there who looks at the post to make the call, based on what he or she thinks is appropriate or inappropriate?

Facebook took a great deal of heat several months ago for removing posts that showed women breast feeding their babies. They were deemed "indecent", then removed after complaints came in from users.

They took even more heat when it was shown that they allowed posts that depicted graphic violence, but took down what is the most natural thing in the world: a woman feeding her baby with her body.

Yesterday, to my disgust, I came face to face with an automatically playing video on my Facebook wall. The video showed a woman physically abusing a baby. It wasn't posted by someone I follow, otherwise I would have first dealt with it directly with my friend through a personal message.

The video showed up on my wall because someone I do follow on Facebook commented on the post, begging Facebook to remove it.

Since I don't know the person who put it up on his timeline, I decided to act directly with Facebook. Though I also sent the person a private message, after Facebook included his link in their response. I asked him to take down the appalling video. When I checked his timeline this morning, I was delighted to see that he'd had the good sense to remove it.

But in my view, that doesn't let Facebook off the hook.

For those who don't know, when you are confronted with an offending post, you have the ability to hide it. Just click onto the downward pointing arrow on the top right hand side of the post. You'll have options to choose from. It is only through this process that Facebook allows you to post a complaint. Which in and of itself is both bothersome and troublesome.

When you select hide a post, Facebook wants to know why. You're then given multiple choices. The complaint option comes up when you select offensive as the reason why.

Again, the options in the complaint prompt are multiple choice. Once you make a choice, you're taken to yet another screen until you finish the complaint.

There is no comment box to register additional information to plead your case beyond what Facebook offers as multiple choice when you select a predetermined option. I couldn't tell them that the video was showing a woman abusing a helpless baby. Which may or may not have changed the decision made by Facebook. Here was their response an hour after I submitted the complaint, under the email subject line "We reviewed your report":
Thank you for taking the time to report something that you feel may violate our Community Standards. Reports like yours are an important part of making Facebook a safe and welcoming environment. We reviewed the share you reported for containing graphic violence and found it doesn't violate our Community Standards.
There is something inherently wrong with any business's community standards when it finds that pictures of a woman breast feeding her baby are offensive enough to remove, but sees nothing wrong with a woman physically abusing a powerless little baby.

And just for the record, there was word that the video might have been a hoax. Even if that had been the case--which it was not--it was still depicting child abuse. Such depictions are just as unacceptable and offensive.

But also for the record, the video is legitimate. It was first posted some time ago in order for the woman to be identified and charged. Hoax-Slayer, a site that checks out the validity of posts, has left the following message and labelled the original post as OUTDATED:
Brief Analysis
The footage is genuine. However, the abuse took place back in 2011 and the mother was subsequently convicted and jailed for the crime. The baby was placed in foster care and was reportedly doing well. Circulating the message is therefore pointless. Police have asked users to delete the message rather than sharing it.
The last line is the important one: Police have asked users to delete the message rather than sharing it.

Facebook does not provide a way to ask for reconsideration of their decision. There is no appeals process that I can find. When they emailed me, they used a noreply response. So it was the end of the line for this complaint from me.

Facebook has set up their complaint feature in such a way that it is challenging to even find, which is plenty bad enough. But the protocol they follow to determine whether or not a post is unfit for continued sharing is unacceptable.

If physical child abuse doesn't violate Facebook's community standards, what does that tell you about Facebook? What does that say about the people making the decisions at the company?

Change can only happen when we stand together. When we share one voice on the issue. And I will use my voice and whatever I have access to in order to share this important message: that the depiction of child abuse is not appropriate material for sharing. I urge you to use your voice to get this message across to Facebook.


  1. Agree 100%. Facebook must take a serious look at their complaint process and their standards. Having seen the video, if they think that is acceptable they are seriously mistaken.

  2. Certainly agree Darlene, please tell me how to contact Facebook to challenge their decision regarding displaying child abuse being within Community Standards!

    1. I wish I could tell you, Jon. That's part of the problem. Facebook doesn't seem to allow for us to do this, outside of a complaint on a single post. Perhaps if we share the article enough times, someone in the know will be able to tell us how to connect with FB in this regard.

  3. Jennifer MarieI have a different take on this. I believe ppl hate to be confronted with the reality of child abuse (such as videos like that) because they don't want to have to grapple with the need for ppl, such as THEMSELVES, to advocate and help abused and neglected children. the less exposed one is to the reality of suffering children (& animals), the easier it is to pretend it doesn't exist and, THEREFORE, doesn't demand one's attention and/or resources. I force myself to watch such disturbing pictures n videos because it forces me to confront the realities and, more crucially, propels me to action. (my life would be much simpler and happier if I could be oblivious. but, I refuse to be oblivious.)

    1. well said people like to sweep nasty stuff under the carpet

    2. I think you've both missed the point. facebook is inconsistent when they remove a picture of a woman breastfeeding but allow a child being beaten to stay up. If they made the decision to ake down the woman breastfeeding then I think they should take down something that shows a baby getting beaten.

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  5. The right to free expression is a well-known topic, but come on, this infant is being horribly abused. That Facebook believes their behaviour does not violate their website is astonishing. They, as well as other individuals, will have serious reactions to seeing or hearing about this movie. We receive calls from people who were blockchain dissertation topics as children and who provide dramatic tales of their experiences.

  6. The article on Facebook refusing to remove a baby beating video is incredibly concerning. It's not only an issue of free speech, but it's an issue of Facebook's responsibility as a platform to protect the safety of its users, especially vulnerable children. It's unacceptable that Facebook would rather protect the free speech of its users than protect the safety of its users. We need to find ways to ensure that companies like Facebook are held accountable for their actions and web development company are forced to take responsibility to keep their users safe.

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