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Facebook's Bullfighting Dilemma

Facebook's censorship guidelines, often the victim of jokes, ridicule and criticism, have once again stepped into the firing line with the recent addition of the option to report images containing bullfighting, among other things such as mockery and hunting scenes.

The option appeared last weekend with no announcement being made concerning the change. Even so, it didn't take long for users to notice the feature, which then became the subject of heated debate on social media.

Animal rights activists and bullfighting supporters locked horns on Twitter as the discussion grew. Pacma, a political party focused on animal rights, happily tweeted that "Facebook has recognised the violent nature of bullfighting", whilst pro-bullfighting accounts described the move as "an outrage".

In my own opinion there is little debate to be had here. The brutality and torture, both physically and mentally, that is inflicted upon these animals in the name of 'art', 'sport' or whatever other excuse you want to make for it is just plain wrong. Bullfighting organisations and affiliates would, of course, argue that point, as they insist that bullfighting is an intrinsic part of Spanish culture.

These groups argue that banning promotional imagery of the sport on Facebook would be an attack on their national identity and personal freedoms. A spokeswoman for one organisation that represents breeders of arena bulls, specifically the Fundacion del Toro de Lidia, stated: "This doesn't make any sense. It is unfair that they are comparing an art form with violent content".

Call it art all you want. If I punched you in the face and called it art, you would still call it assault.

However as the debate still raged on across various social networks, Facebook quietly made the decision to remove the option to report bullfighting images. When approached for comment by BBC Trending, a spokesman for Facebook insisted that the inclusion of bullfighting was a mistake from the beginning.

"Pictures of Bullfighting are allowed on Facebook, the inclusion of bullfighting in our image reporting flow was a mistake and has now been corrected."

I must admit to being disappointed when I heard about Facebook's decision to backpedal. The only reason I can see to allow these pictures to circulate is to highlight the true horror of the sport, and hopefully inspire more people to take a stand against it.

Sam is an aspiring novelist with a passion for fantasy and crime thrillers. Currently working as Editor of Social Songbird, he hopes to one day drop that 'aspiring' prefix. Follow him @SamAtSMF

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Facebook's Bullfighting Dilemma Reviewed by Unknown on Thursday, January 28, 2016 Rating: 5

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