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Cameron: Facebook is "irresponsible" for allowing return of beheading videos

David Cameron has today called Facebook "irresponsible" for its recent U-turn on policies that previously banned the depiction of extreme violence on the social network.

In May, the site banned violent videos and images from being posted after a video apparently showing a woman being beheaded by a Mexican drug cartel was circulated by users, but on Monday Facebook reversed that decision.

David Cameron wrote on his Twitter feed that "it's irresponsible of Facebook to post beheading videos, especially without a warning. They must explain their actions to worried parents."

The company released a statement, arguing that people shared the videos in order to expose and condemn them.

"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."

The statement claimed that, "People share videos of these events on Facebook to condemn them. If they were being celebrated, or the actions in them encouraged, our approach would be different."

A recent beheading video was entitled "Challenge: Anybody can watch this video?" The company has refused to comment on specific examples.

The social network has had problems with violent content and pornography flooding its news feed in the past. and Facebook originally removed decapitation videos after the Family Online Safety Institute - part of its Safety Advisory Board - complained that the videos "crossed a line".

In the site's terms and conditions, it now states that "Photos and videos containing nudity, drug use or other graphic content are not allowed on Facebook. We also don't allow photos or videos that glorify violence or attack an individual or group."

The conditions also contain a warning against "excessive violence".

Meanwhile, the company has also reiterated its ban on "fully exposed breasts", except in cases of breastfeeding.

The announcement comes just a week after the social network announced that it would allow teenage users to post publicly for the first time.

Image: University Hospitals Birmingham