Governments and child protection groups around the globe have branded Facebook "criminally irresponsible" as the social networking giant announced plans to remove its ban on child pornography being posted and shared on its site.
The US firm confirmed it now believed its users should be free to watch and condemn such videos. It added it was, however, considering adding warnings and advising viewers that they should not, under any circumstances, attempt to repeat or recreate any of the actions contained in the videos.
"Saying that they're just going to post warnings on these things is just not enough," said one parents' group. "Everyone knows that it only takes seconds of exposure to material such as this for an otherwise healthy, normal, well-adjusted person to be transformed instantly into a rabid, child-abusing paedophile."
However, Facebook have been quick to defend their decision to change their rules. "Allowing people to put these videos on our site will actually help to lower the number of paedophiles on our streets," said David Cromwell, head of Facebook Media Strategy. "Anyone viewing these images on our site can "like" them. Anyone who "likes" the images is obviously a dangerous paedophile, so we are actually assisting the police in helping to identify dangerous paedophiles."
Cromwell was also quick to dismiss claims about the illegality of making such images available. "It's just nonsense to suggest that child pornography is illegal", he said. "I mean, any world where it's legal to look at a video of a person being brutally decapitated but illegal to look at a photo of a 17 year old girl striking an erotic pose would just be completely mad, wouldn't it?", he added.