PETALING JAYA: Cyberspace giants such as Facebook and Google cannot just shrug off responsibility when gruesome, gory and graphic content is making its rounds on their electronic platforms, said media experts.
Recently, horrific footage of a woman being raped in Puchong was shared by many people on social media.
World Editors Forum president Marcelo Rech (pic) said traditional media outlets assume a self-regulatory system in ensuring the identity and dignity of a crime victim, in this case a rape assault victim, was protected.
“Facebook does not assume that it is a media company. It rather describes itself as a technology platform, and this sad case confirms its view once again.
“In the case of professional media, there is always someone responsible for the content and eventually for a mistake. However, there is no code of ethics on social media,” he said in an interview.
The World Editors Forum comprises editors-in-chief of publications which are part of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-Ifra).
WAN-Ifra represents more than 18,000 publications, 15,000 online sites and more than 3,000 companies in over 120 countries.
Rech added that the incident involving the rape video was a “sad example” of the lack of responsibility on social media.
“Who should be held accountable when privacy is invaded in such a horrible case?” he asked.
Senior lecturer at Universiti Malaya’s Department of Media Studies Dr Shahreen Mat Nayan wants Facebook to be held accountable in ensuring graphic and gruesome content is taken down.
“Facebook should have removed the video from its platform. It can’t all be about profit.
“Social media should have a sense of social responsibility, too,” said Dr Shahreen.
She admitted that the headline of the gruesome video was enough to make her sick, and she dared not click on it.
“The role of Facebook in our everyday lives has evolved. It is no longer a place where people limit their posts to baby photos, cute cats and what they ate for lunch,” she said.
Dr Shahreen cautioned that people’s right to free speech should not be curtailed, but the gruesome rape video should not have been made public.
“The woman was already a victim of sexual violence. Why would people make her situation worse by sharing that video?
“And if people don’t have the decency to think humanely, then perhaps Facebook should have shown some compassion by taking the video down,” she said.
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