ISBA slams Facebook over beheadings

Facebook: attracts criticism from ISBA
Facebook: attracts criticism from ISBA

Advertising industry trade body ISBA has attacked Facebook over its decision to allow users to post footage of beheadings, claiming the social media site desires "all the revenue but none of the responsibility".

Simon Milner, Facebook’s UK and Ireland policy director, appeared yesterday (19 November) before MPs in the Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee to defend its stance of allowing footage of beheadings where the user is condemning the act.

Facebook was criticised last month by David Cameron, the prime minister, who said it was "irresponsible" of the site to allow beheadings to be shown on its site, while brands such as Marks & Spencer and BSkyB complained to Facebook about the footage.

Milner told the assembled MPs there was "a place for people to share that kind of content in the right context", to "highlight what’s going on" rather than "glorify" the violence.

However, trade body ISBA – which said it had spoken to Milner about the subject – has criticised Facebook’s stance, claiming it will be met with "concern" from marketers whose brands appear on those pages.

Bob Wootton, ISBA’s director of media and advertising, said: "It is of course Facebook’s prerogative to be a channel which highlights human rights abuses. But when they actively solicit and take advertising on their pages the conversation changes.

"Advertisers rightly demand that where possible their ads are protected from appearing against explicit content – whatever the context of that content.

"Facebook’s intentions are no doubt well-meaning, but they will not be met with anything but concern from the advertisers whose brands appear on those pages. Sadly, they still seem to want all the revenue but none of the responsibility."

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