The social networking site Facebook has decided to allow users to post video footage of beheadings, reversing a temporary ban on the material.
The videos will be allowed to remain on the site if those posting them are condemning the beheadings, and not celebrating them. Images which “glorify violence” will still be banned.
British Prime Minister David Cameron was among those who condemned the decision.
“It’s irresponsible of Facebook to post beheading videos, especially without a warning. They must explain their actions to worried parents,” he wrote on Twitter.
Facebook allows children as young as 13 to join the site.
The company noted in a statement that it may add warnings regarding beheadings and other graphic content.
“Facebook has long been a place where people turn to share their experiences, particularly when they're connected to controversial events on the ground, such as human rights abuses, acts of terrorism and other violent events. People share videos of these events on Facebook to condemn them,” the statement argued.
Facebook has been the center of controversy on several occasions. In Israel, the site has taken heat for providing services to senior Iranian leaders despite U.S. sanctions. Facebook has also been criticized for lacking an effective mechanism to stop anti-Semitism on the site, although the company has removed some pages used to spread hate.
Terrorist groups such as Fatah often use Facebook to glorify terrorism, and the Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security service, has warned that terrorists use Facebook and other social networking sites to attempt to entrap Israelis.