Exclusive: Facebook refuses to remove images of Jordanian pilot murder

Facebook has refused to remove pictures of Jordanian pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh being burnt to death by ISIS, despite receiving scores of complaints.

The graphic stills from the original video of al-Kasasbeh being immolated in a cage appear on the Facebook page of the controversial Britain First organisation.

“We have reluctantly posted these images because ignorance is not bliss,” the organisation says in the post, before concluding “may he rest in peace”.

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PC Pro has spoken to a number of Facebook users, many of whom didn’t wish to be named, who have complained to Facebook that the images violate the social network’s terms of use because they feature images of graphic violence.

However, Facebook has issued the same response to all of them, stating: “We reviewed the photo you reported for containing graphic violence and found it doesn’t violate our Community Standards.”

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Other sources have claimed they have tried to report the images to Facebook, but the option to report for graphic violence has been removed. At the time of writing, the post was still accessible and the images unobscured.

This isn’t the first time Facebook has courted controversy over depictions of the murder of hostages by illegal groups. In 2013, the website reinstated a previously blocked video showing the decapitation of a woman in Mexico, saying users should be free to view it and share it so that they can condemn it.

Facebook declined to comment on the Britain First post, telling PC Pro that the company doesn’t comment on individual cases. However, the company said that in general terms, while videos of violent acts are removed, stills from such videos, as well as photographs, are allowed to remain, even though they may be distressing, so that members of the social network can discuss the issues and also have the opportunity to condemn the actions in question.

While this type of use of graphic images is permitted, posts that glorify or take sadistic pleasure in the suffering of people or animals do violate Facebook’s terms and conditions and will be removed, it added.

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