Friday, 28 February 2014

#Unwatchable: Should Social Media Websites Censor Extremist Images?

Syrian extremist severe a thieves hand as punishment for stealing.

This image is copyrighted by Twitter. 

To all who are familiar with social media websites, including Twitter and Facebook, it is more than likely you have been exposed to explicit and graphic content. This may have been voluntary or, you simply could have been scrolling through your updates when you witness the shocking mutilation which was documented by a series of live tweets.

A swarm of extremist Syrian Islamist militants decided to share with the world the revolting lengths to which they use to punish a man for stealing. According to, the amputation took place within the "northern town of maskanah, near alpeppo" and was requested by the victim himself as punishment for his sins.

The images from the gruesome events where live-tweeted by the group, which was then retweeted by several social media networks and channels. Even more shocking, the Twitter accounts were identifiable which would have allowed an online audience to follow the events of this macabre act.

Thankfully, the images have now been removed from Twitter and the accounts associated suspended.

I have no doubt these images would have become viral and many people would have to be exposed to an act of forced removal of ones hand. Unfortunately for those who may be squeamish, there does not appear to be any rules against the uploading and sharing of graphic extremist pictures on the internet.

When social media sites have an audience of millions of dedicated users from across the globe, should we really be exposed to images in which show a man who has been blindfolded, his hands are held down on a wooden table by rebels who lay a large wooden slab to keep the target still. A militant approaches wielding an elongated sword. The following "one handed selfie" showing the blood splattered table of which his now severed hand is.  I think not! (...unless you're the type of person who likes #bloodandgore)

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