Despite intense backlash from child protection groups and campaigners, Facebook stands by its decision to allow its users to share what has been called a “disturbing” and “sickening” video of a baby girl screaming while being roughly dunked in a bucket of water.
The video, which appears to have emerged from Indonesia, shows a woman swinging the infant around by its limbs and later by the head.
After the clip went viral, the U.K.-based National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children claimed the footage depicted child abuse and ought to be removed from the website.
In an open letter to U.K. Culture Minister Ed Vaizey and Minister for Internet Safety and Security Joanna Shields, NSPCC chief executive Peter Wanless called on the authorities to make sure people are "no longer exposed to this kind of dreadful and disturbing content."
"Facebook's terms and conditions say it will 'remove graphic images when they are shared for sadistic pleasure or to celebrate or glorify violence.' But when questioned on this latest piece of film the official reaction was to say 'it does not breach its policies,'" the letter read.
Facebook dismissed all complaints about the video, arguing it’s a regular form of exercise for infants.
"Whilst we understand that people may be upset by this video which depicts a form of baby yoga, after careful review we found it does not break our rules," the Mirror quoted a company spokesperson as saying. “We do not allow child abuse on Facebook and any illegal content which is flagged to us is quickly removed.”
In addition, Simon Milner, director of policy at Facebook, told BBC Radio 4, Facebook moderators would take down the video where users were seen to be endorsing or joking about the content.
But he added the video couldn’t be removed altogether from the site because there were people who were sharing it to spread awareness against child abuse.
“Our response has been it does not breach our terms, but it is a disturbing and distressing video ... and therefore it’s right that we put up a warning ... and only if it is shared in the context of condemning it,” he said.