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Facebook refuses to remove video of “terrified” crying baby repeatedly dunked in water

Facebook is once again at the centre of a media storm, following the social network’s refusal to remove a video of a “terrified”, crying baby being repeatedly submerged in a bucket of water.

The clip is still live on the social network, despite protestations from the NSPCC, which has contacted the government in a bid to get the video removed.

The two-minute clip shows the baby being swung around by her arms, and held upside down by her limbs while being partly submerged in water again and again, while crying.

The BBC reports that Facebook did indeed acknowledge that the video was "upsetting and disturbing", but believed that its user base should still be able to watch the clip.

A spokesperson for the social network told the Beeb: "In cases like these, we face a difficult choice: balancing people's desire to raise awareness of behaviour like this against the disturbing nature of the video. In this case, we are removing any reported instances of the video from Facebook that are shared supporting or encouraging this behaviour.”

In posts where the video is allowed to stand, the social network is adding a warning, and rating the content for adults only.

The spokesperson clarified: "In cases where people are raising awareness or condemning the practice, we are marking reported videos as disturbing, which means they have a warning screen and are accessible only to people over the age of 18."

Peter Wanless, chief executive of the NSPCC, posted his response and letter to the government on the organisation's website, noting how social media sites still aren't taking the issue of online safety seriously enough.

Wanless said he was deeply troubled by the disturbing video, and that the UK public should not be exposed to "this kind of dreadful and disturbing content."

In the letter addressed to Baroness Shields and Ed Vaizey, he said: “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 NSPCC believes we have now reached the long overdue point where it is time for social networking sites to be held to account for the content on their sites and pay more attention to their safeguarding duties to protect children and young people, whether they are viewing the content or appearing in it.”