Pros and cons of an online policy which bans animal abuse videos and pictures

The consensus is that animal abuse videos and pictures should be banned across the Internet. That’s what we find. The big social media websites such as Facebook enforce an across-the-board ban of animal abuse videos and pictures. And you will find that businesses which host millions of websites strictly prohibit animal abuse videos and pictures being uploaded to their servers.

Until September 7th I will give 10 cents to an animal charity for every comment written by visitors. It is a way visitors can contribute to animal welfare without much effort and no financial cost. Please comment. It helps this website too which at heart is about cat welfare.

In short, the pros or advantages of banning animal abuse videos and pictures online outweighs the cons or disadvantages. But let’s look at the pros and cons holistically.

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The pros:

Ethical considerations: banning these videos helps to promote a more compassionate and responsible online environment. It makes online material more palatable, more readable and more acceptable across-the-board. It promotes a safer place. The idea of “safe places” is quite current.

Prevention of animal cruelty: disallowing these obnoxious videos and pictures avoids the promotion and glorification or normalisation of animal abuse in videos and pictures.

Protection of online users: many online users are very sensitive to abusive videos and pictures and therefore banning them from the Internet protects these people. They are protected from being traumatised.

Brand image: many website owners like to project a squeakyclean brand image. It helps to improve advertising revenue and promotes a reputation of animal welfare.

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An alleged cat abuser of the worst kind in China named Jack Spicey Strip
An alleged cat abuser of the worst kind in China named Jack Spicey Strip. Image: Social media.

The cons:

Misrepresenting the real world: if online material is kept squeakyclean in removing all obnoxious videos of all types including those of animal abuse, the Internet then represents an unreal world. This can mislead people. And it can mean that people find it more difficult to live in the real world. It distorts reality.

Education: banning all animal abuse videos bans the possibility of educating people about the real world animal and abuse that takes place across the planet to a shocking extent. Kids need to be aware of this and they need to learn about it to enable them to fight it when they become adults.

Content moderation challenges: it’s almost impossible to effectively ban all animal abuse videos and pictures. TikTok has 40,000 moderators and are still heavily criticised for presenting animal abuse videos and other inappropriate material on their platform. Facebook has always struggled to enforce their policy of no animal abuse videos. YouTube routinely has many animal abuse videos and scammy animal rescue videos which are fake. When you notify these platforms about these videos sometimes nothing happens or if it does happen it does so very slowly. This is indicative of the near impossibility of moderating uploaded material.

Subjectivity and false positives: determining what constitutes animal abuse can be subjective. Social media platforms use automated systems and artificial intelligence algorithms to detect animal abuse material but they can be mistaken. This can lead to an infringement of the rights of freedom of expression and speech of citizens of the world.

Slippery slope: if you ban one aspect of real human life albeit a very unpleasant part of it, it might lead to more censorship in other areas.

Censorship: if you censor people you are indeed on a slippery slope. People don’t realise how much censorship takes place by large Internet companies. It’s peculiar that the Internet is essentially unregulated and managed by companies concerned with making a profit as a first priority. It shouldn’t be like that in my opinion. Although by and large the big online search engines like to promote freedom of speech. Elon Musk likes to allow freedom of speech on Twitter X to the extent where it harms revenue. I think he allows too much animal cruelty. It can hurt people psychologically.

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This list is not exhaustive and the discussion is quite nuanced actually but I would be very pleased to hear from other people as to what they think about the pros and cons of publishing animal abuse videos online.

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