Twitter makes the right call with decision on graphic Foley images

The Wall Street Journal's former CCO told CNN on Wednesday that the major news networks acted responsibly in not airing images of the beheading of James Foley. Twitter, meanwhile, shut down accounts that used the graphic video.

James Foley
James Foley

The Wall Street Journal’s former CCO told CNN on Wednesday that the major news networks acted responsibly in not airing images of the beheading of James Foley, whose killing was taped by ISIS, on Tuesday.

Faced with a similar situation more than a decade ago after the murder of Journal reporter Daniel Pearl in Pakistan, Steve Goldstein told CNN’s Brian Stelter that he had to "urge the networks not to run the video."

Yet this time, the BP Global Solutions SVP and former TIAA-CREF EVP and communications chief told the cable network, "It’s good to see that the networks are acting so responsibly…by refusing to show this barbaric action."

He probably wouldn’t have said the same for the New York Post, which pushed the limits with its Wednesday morning page one.

The situation is trickier for Twitter, which is increasingly the place where consumers on the ground break unfiltered news on their own as well as a distribution platform for major media outlets. Yet it acted quickly this week to suspend accounts that included graphic images of Foley’s death.

Such a decision is a bit of a balancing act for the microblogging service. While many supported its move, others accused it of self-censorship – or, worse in some eyes, an example of the newly public company selling out. Most experts interviewed by NBC News on the topic thought Twitter made the right decision.

Call it the maturation of Twitter. As the company increasingly becomes a place where consumers get their news – and on an up-to-the-second basis – more than a platform for users to post the minutiae of their lives, it will be faced with "editorial decisions" like this more often. I’d say it made the right call this time.

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