In a reversal of the self-imposed sanctions put forth in May of this year, Facebook has stopped their ban on violence in videos. Advocacy groups were originally very upset with videos that depicted violent acts such as beheadings on the Facebook web streams. It now seems that videos of a violent nature, including beheadings, will once again be permitted provided that the video is a condemnation of the actions portrayed and not a celebration. Facebook claims they want to be an accurate representation of “the world we live in.”
This is a slippery slope in many facets. Firstly, the delineation between what constitutes a celebration or condemnation of a particular act is a complete subjective perception. Whereas on news programs because the tone of the news reporter is somber and footage is often tragic, people are supposed to generally assume that they are not in support of what they are showing. That is somewhat of a messy standard in the first place, and how without any tone whatsoever is a person expected to determine the overall purpose and message of a video if it does not provide an explanation within. It does not make logical sense that Facebook, the government, and whoever else calls the shots when it comes to alleged freedom, trust wholeheartedly that a person is completely conscious of the intent surrounding the video they are viewing.
The powers that be have made it perfectly clear that they do not trust or respect the intelligence of the common citizen, so how this could be a workable exception is quite absurd. Beyond that lies the privacy and tracking issues, which underneath everything have been the bread and butter of Facebook in the first place. Allowing violent videos cannot possibly have a positive impact on the peace and happiness of a society, so the end game for Facebook is obviously something different.
In line with the tracking and information gathering, allowing videos of this nature could give Facebook, in conjunction with those in power, the ability to better track radicals or those who oppose the social norms in any given country. If a video from a revolutionary group depicting violence is posted, regardless of circumstance within the video itself, it could possibly allow the group to be identified much faster than a scanning of the blog chains and dark net. Like Twitter, the power of instant touch to stream videos can have a tremendous influence on the daily activities of the technological world at large.
So behind the scenes this allowance of violent videos could potentially identify a newly burgeoning WikiLeaks before it has the ability to get the network off the ground so to speak. And maybe that is one of the primary reasons for Facebook actually making this decision. They have made it abundantly clear that privacy and self-expression of their members is not something they are concerned with. In fact, they use all forms of self-expression as marketing weapons against each person that signs on, so why not have violent evidence against someone from their profile as well. Either it will increase the already overflowing amount of fear in the populous or form more violent groups, but either way, just like news programs, showing violent videos has no positive impact on society whatsoever.
Written by Michael Blain