Facebook to trial warnings for extreme content

Facebook is to trial warning messages on extreme content after an outcry over its decision to lift a ban on beheading videos

Facebook is to display warning messages alongside violent, sexual and sensitive content following outcry over its decision to lift a ban on videos showing beheadings.

Prime minister David Cameron said the site was “irresponsible” for posting beheading videos, especially without warning.

Earlier this week, Facebook allowed a Mexican protest group to post a video of a masked drugs-cartel member beheading a woman.

The group called on members of its Facebook page to join its campaign against the cartels in Mexico.

Facebook is also discussing the introduction of age-restriction warnings that would alert a user to more extreme content, according to the Guardian.

Although Facebook's revised policy allows extreme content if it is deemed to be in a “suitable context", the firm is stepping up messages to users who attempt to post unsuitable content, the paper said.

Facebook said it had changed its policy to allow context to be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. The firm said it will allow graphic content that is shared for the purpose of condemning it.

However, it called on users who share such content to do so in a responsible manner and warn potential audiences about the nature of the content so they can make an informed choice.

In July, David Cameron announced moves in the UK to block online pornography by default for all new internet users – who must ask for filters to be turned off if they want access.

The prime minister took up the cause of curtailing abuse and unsuitable material on the internet amid growing concern that hardcore and violent images are damaging children’s lives.

In June, more than 100 anti-rape groups and campaigners handed a letter to the prime minister, calling for the criminalisation of possessing internet pornography depicting rape.

Also in June, the prime minister held a meeting with internet firms to discuss ways of blocking images of child sex abuse and to prevent children  viewing pornography online.

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