Facebook has backed off on its position asserting that a video of an infant being dunked in a bucket of water was merely "baby yoga."
The video and Facebook's initial response to the disturbing footage have drawn criticism from the UK's National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC). For Facebook, the decision to allow the video on its site came as the social networking company sought to strike a balance between raising awareness and leaving the upsetting content uncensored.
Facebook's stance on what it previously deemed "baby yoga" is now focused on raising awareness of child abuse. The video will be allowed to live on Facebook, as long as it isn't presented in posts that make light of the subject, according to Simon Milner, director of policy at Facebook UK.
"We have seen from experience that when things like that are shared on Facebook it can and does lead to the rescue of the child," Milner said. "We hope very much that this will happen in this case."
Before Facebook changed its tone on the video, the NSPCC's chief executive, Peter Wanless, wrote an open letter to the UK's minister for Internet Safety and Security and its minister of State for Culture and the Digital Economy urging the government official to demand more responsibility from the social networking company.
"While the welfare of this child is naturally paramount we would also urge you to look at all available options which will ensure UK citizens, including millions of children, are no longer exposed to this kind of dreadful and disturbing content," said Wanless.
Facebook states, in its terms and conditions, that it will remove graphic material from its social network, but it claimed the video of the abuse didn't violate any of its policies, stated Wanless. This case is far from rare, he stated in the open letter.
"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," stated Wanless.
It's still unclear who posted the video and from where, but the Toronto Police Department has been investigating the matter. Despite hearing that such treatment of a child may be condoned in some cultures, the police department deemed the act as abusive behavior.
"There was some concern that this might be a practice that is acceptable in some parts of the world," said Constable Scott Mills of the Toronto Police Department. "But we don't feel it's acceptable, at all."
[WARNNING: GRAPHIC] A censored copy of the baby-dunking incident appears below: