Facebook had temporarily removed the video of Philando Castile, an African-American who was fatally shot by a police officer during a traffic stop last week, and had therefore faced criticism. At that time social media giant Facebook has said that they only remove contents if it celebrates or glorifies violence, and if the contents are only graphic or disturbing then they do not do so. Immediately after her fiance was shot by police in his car, the video of the whole incident was broadcast live by Castile’s girlfriend Diamond Reynolds. Soon across US and on social media, there was a huge uproar.
After nearly one million views on social media and news websites the video disappeared from Facebook Live. The social media giant said that due to a technical glitch it was temporarily unavailable but they refused to state the cause of the glitch. Almost an hour later with a warning labeled disturbing the video returned to the site. Technology website Techcrunch reported on Saturday that Facebook explained its censorship policy for Live video saying that contradicts theories that the video disappeared due to Facebook waffling on whether it should stay up, a high volume of reports of it containing violent content, a deletion by police who had taken possession of Castile’s girlfriend’s phone and Facebook account or a request from police to remove it. Questions about Facebook’s roles and responsibilities for hosting citizen journalism that could be controversial or graphic were raised as they had temporarily removed the contents.
As per Facebook’s Community Standards, what is and what is not allowed on the social network, like pornography to violence to hate speech, also applies to Live video, photos and other videos. The company said that the policy on graphic content is that Facebook does not allow and will take down content depicting violence if it’s celebrated, glorified or mocks the victim. However, violent content that is graphic or disturbing is not a violation if it’s posted to bring attention to the violence or condemn it.