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Irish groups come out against 'child abuse' viral Facebook video


Leading Irish children's groups, councillors and politicians have spoken out against a viral Facebook video which has been hailed as depicting child abuse.

The video appears to have originated from Toronto and the city police are investigating the welfare of the child.

The video shows a baby being "aggressively" swung around by a woman believed to be his mother. The infant is repeatedly dipped into a tub of water and, at one point, held upside down and swung around.

The video, which was posted on May 26th, has racked up over 100,000 views and the criticism of both the video and the social network for it's failure to remove it has been steady.

The nearly two-minute long video was brought to the attention of the authorities by the Catholic Children's Aid Society last Tuesday.

A spokesperson for the police force, Meaghan Gray, spoke to CTV Toronto about the video and the investigation.

"The baby is being swung by its arm and is repeatedly being dunked into a bucket of water".

"This video shows child abuse".

**Video at end of article - warning, upsetting images**

The video was reported to Facebook by the police, but the alleged response received was that the video did not violate their policies.

"We have contacted Facebook to get their assistance, but have been notified by Facebook that (the video) doesn’t violate their community standards".

Facebook told CTV that they were "looking into" the video.

The Toronto police are appealing for information.

"If they know of the identity of the child or the identity of the person committing these acts to please contact us," Gray said.

The police acknowledge that there may be cultural aspects to the activities but are anxious to speak to the parents.

Dublin Councillor Nial Ring today joined in the calls for Facebook to take down the video.

"I am calling on Children's charities and the Minister for Children Dr. James Reilly to immediately contact Facebook's Dublin corporate offices and demand that this video be removed" he added.

"Facebook has corporate offices in this country and avails of our generous corporate tax rates and surely this gives our Government some influence over the way the company conducts itself. We should use this leverage to demand that Facebook conducts its business in a socially responsible way - the showing of this video is anything but social responsibility".

Speaking to Independent.ie, the ISPCC said that the content was "hugely disturbing".

Aoife Griffin, the Head of Advocacy at the ISPCC, is encouraging anyone who sees content like this to report it to both Facebook and the Gardaí, and "to continue doing so until they remove it".

"This is not the way to hold a defenceless baby. Parents should not be posting or engaging in things like this".

Facebook told Independent.ie that any posts that portray this video in a positive light are being removed.

"Like others, we find the behaviour in this video upsetting and disturbing. In cases like these, we face a difficult choice: balancing people’s desire to raise awareness of behaviour like this against the disturbing nature of the video.

In this case, we are removing any reported instances of the video from Facebook that are shared supporting or encouraging this behaviour.

In cases where people are raising awareness or condemning the practice, we are marking reported videos as disturbing, which means they have a warning screen and are accessible only to people over the age of 18."

Online Editors