A Facebook video depicting a black woman being lynched by a white man dressed in a Confederate battle flag t-shirt went viral on Friday. It's not clear if the video is staged or shows an actual lynching.
Users who flagged the graphic video to Facebook community managers on Friday said the site did not take the clip down. Instead, sources who flagged the video told Mic, the video was marked as restricted for viewing by people 18 years old and up.
The 17-second clip, which appears to have been edited to obscure the face of the man pulling the rope to hang the woman, had been viewed more than 432,000 times by late Friday morning. It also had been shared over 14,000 times and drew more than 8,700 comments. The user who originally uploaded the video posted it Thursday morning with the caption, "I hope this is not real??"
The Facebook clip has rattled many on the site, including Black Lives Matter activists who alerted Mic to the video and joined others in trying to get the video pulled from social media.
(Editor's note: Graphic description of the video, as well as an obscured screenshot, appears below. View with discretion.)
In the clip, a black woman who appears drugged or intoxicated kneels as two white men tighten a noose around her neck. The video then cuts to a man pulling the rope in as the woman dangles and gasps for air. A Confederate battle flag and a Gadsden flag are visible behind the dangling woman, whose body goes limp as the clip ends.
After several Facebook users reported the video, some received the following response from website's support team and shared screen shots of their responses: "Facebook is a place where people can share their experiences and raise awareness about issues important to them. However, after hearing feedback from our community, we now limit visibility of this type of content to people older than 18."
The message goes on to say that community managers would display a warning to users that the video contains graphic content. Facebook's response to the video, which includes language verbatim from its online community standards guidelines, seems to be in conflict with its policy on violent and graphic content.
"We remove graphic images when they are shared for sadistic pleasure or to celebrate or glorify violence," the policy reads.
A spokesperson for the company told Mic on Friday morning that Facebook was looking into the video.
Facebook recently hired 3,000 people to help the company stop users from broadcasting scenes of murder and sexual assault through Facebook Live, following the posting of a video showing the actual shooting of Robert Goodwin Sr. in April. The company has also drawn criticism for reportedly forcing users to remove art that depicts nudity and photos of breastfeeding mothers.
The origins of the video in question are unclear. However, the clip appears to be a shortened version of a longer video posted to the website DailyMotion in February. By Friday afternoon, the website had pulled the video.
In that version, the black woman is beaten and knocked to the ground. One man is seen urinating on the motionless woman, before she is picked up and the noose is fitted around her neck. The video was posted to a DailyMotion account titled "Confederate's Revenge." and includes a warning to viewers. "Torture a white kid? Be prepared for THIS!"
Mic reached out to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors hate groups and domestic extremists. A representative for the organization did not immediately respond to a request for comment.