An extremely graphic video showing a woman being decapitated with a knife by a masked man has for the last few days been spreading on Facebook. And although according to Facebook’s current policy the video doesn’t violate graphic content restrictions, the social media site has decided to remove all reported instances as it evaluates the situation.

According to one user sharing the video, the woman is being killed for cheating on her husband.

Groups Petition for Removal of Graphic Video of Beheading Spreading on Facebook

This video is being shared by many on Facebook and is sparking petitions for its removal. (Image: Facebook screenshot)

Joe Newby, who writes for the Spokane Conservative Examiner, reported Facebook spokesman Fred Wolens initially saying the graphic content was allowed to remain on the site because it was being shared in order to condemn it.

“Just as TV news programs often show upsetting images of atrocities, people can share upsetting videos on Facebook to raise awareness of actions or causes. While this video is shocking, our approach is designed to preserve people’s rights to describe, depict and comment on the world in which we live,” Wolens said, according to Newby.

Facebook’s policy regarding graphic content states:

People use Facebook to share events through photos and videos. We understand that graphic imagery is a regular component of current events, but must balance the needs of a diverse community. Sharing any graphic content for sadistic pleasure is prohibited.

But in an emailed statement to TheBlaze, a Facebook’s spokeswoman wrote the site has now decided it will “remove instances of this video that are reported to us while we evaluate our policy and approach to this type of content.”

Last year, an allegedly leaked guidebook from a third-party who claimed to review Facebook content for policy violations said content that would violate guidelines included those that showed human bodily fluids, like urine, vomit, feces, semen, pus and ear wax. But the guidebook also showed that the policy allowed “crushed head, limbs, etc …as long as no insides are showing.”

The Facebook post of the video we found had been liked more than 2,500 times and shared nearly 18,000 times. But the Daily Kos pointed out that another version was liked more than 6,000 times and shared more than 40,000 times.

Before Facebook agreed to remove the graphic video, it was being petitioned to do so by many. One on the website GoPetition has nearly 170 signatures. Celia Mellow who started the petition wrote:

The thought of my 13 year old sister being able to watch that video horrifies me! I came across the video after I watched my close friends face turn from a mixture of horror and disgust to uncontrollable sobbing when she had found it on her news feed and started to watch it whilst I was still on webcam to her. I was also able to access this video and only managed to watch half of it before feeling faint, sick and tearful …

[...]

My friends and I are all shocked from the graphic horror displayed on our Facebook news feeds. Children as young as 13 are allowed to sign up for Facebook accounts, if Mark Zuckerberg himself saw what was posted on his successful website then I’m sure he’d feel the same way as I do about this situation. This may be a spark of terrorism and there may be more and worse to come on more and more social networking websites.

The BBC also reported organizations calling for Facebook to remove the video:

US’s Family Online Safety Institute told the BBC the graphic nature of the violence involved meant that the material had “crossed a line”.

“Personally and professionally I feel that Facebook has got this call wrong,” said Stephen Balkam, the organisation’s chief executive.

Charities in the UK have also called on the social network to reconsider its stance saying the material could cause long-term psychological damage.

It is unclear if the video is real, but some commenters have said they don’t think it is fake, even watching it multiple times to confirm.

Some might question why Facebook would initially allow such a violent video when it has recently taken measures to do things like shut down some gun pages for violating its policies with posts that allegedly “promote the sale or use of weapons, ammunition, or explosives.” Facebook has also recently been accused of knocking a woman off the site for 30 days for a policy-violating post made by another user on a group page for which she was an administrator. The woman said she believes she and the group were being targeted for conservative beliefs.

TheBlaze has decided not to embed the video due to its graphic nature, however we have included a link. But be warned, the video is extremely graphic. Clicking here will take you to a blog with graphic screenshots from the video and the footage as well.

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