Neknomination videos ‘do not breach’ Facebook rules

Pat Rabbitte urged social networking firm to ban pages promoting drinking game

Facebook screengrab of a page promoting the Neknomination drinking game

Facebook screengrab of a page promoting the Neknomination drinking game

Mon, Feb 3, 2014, 21:25

Social networking site Facebook has said videos of people participating in the “Neknomination” drinking game do not breach its rules or community standards.

Minister for Communication Pat Rabbitte had earlier called on Facebook to introduce a ban on pages promoting the game, which has been linked to the death of a young man in Co Carlow at the weekend.

Mr Rabbitte demanded that Facebook act after charities and health professionals called for the game to be stopped.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny today appealed to young people to boycott the game as it “could end your life”.

It is understood that Facebook was reviewing videos linked to the craze but that the posting of such material is not a breach of its rules or “community standards”.

Facebook says it prohibits content deemed to be directly harmful but allows content that is offensive or controverisal.

Harmful content is defined by Facebook as “anything organising real world violence, theft, or property destruction, or that directly inflicts emotional distress on a specific private individual (e.g. bullying).”

A spokesman for Facebook said: “At Facebook we try to be a platform where people can share freely whilst still protecting the rights of others. We do not tolerate content which is directly harmful, for example bullying, but controversial or offensive behavior is not necessarily against our rules.

“We encourage people to report things to us which they feel breaks our rules so we can review and take action on a case by case basis. We also give people the ability to remove themselves from an uncomfortable conversation through tools such as untagging and blocking.”

‘Stupid ruse’

Mr Rabbitte said the first responsibility was with young people falling for a “stupid ruse”. He added: “But it would be helpful if Facebook agreed to take down pages, which promote a stupid and silly phenomenon.”

Facebook have issued guidelines that are available on the website if people want a post removed from the site. Users can remove a tag linking a post to them, report the post or ask their friend to remove it from Facebook.

Watch a video about how to untag yourself here:

People can also quickly use their Activity Log – their private record of everything they are tagged in on Facebook – to hide the post from their Timeline.

Facebook added that branded alcohol content, which includes official pages, posts, sponsored stories and adverts, is not visible to people under the age of 18 in Ireland.

Judge warns

Meanwhile, a High Court judge has said if internet drinking contests continue, they will result in a “tsunami” of homicide and rape prosecutions before his court. Mr Justice Paul Carney was speaking as he was sentencing a 38-year-old Waterford man who, after drinking six to seven pints of Budweiser, raped an acquaintance having offered her a lift home from their local nightclub.

Mr Justice Carney said it was the latest case in a long line in which young men with no previous convictions, from good families take a quantity of drink they are not used to and “end up the following morning facing responsibility for a homicide or a rape and it seems to be a lottery as to which it is going to be”.

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