A gruesome video released Tuesday showed extremists executing Foley, 40, in what the extremists called retribution for U.S. military actions in northern Iraq. They threatened to kill a second man, identified in the video as American journalist Steven Sotloff, if U.S. airstrikes don’t cease.
Several U.S. officials confirmed the validity of the video, The Associated Press reported. YouTube deleted the clip, but it had already been widely circulated online.
Many Twitter users appreciated the company’s decision, while others accused it of censorship.
Twitter users who oppose spreading the images are using the hashtag #ISISMediaBlackout, CBS News reported.
Foley, of New Hampshire, went missing more than a year ago in northern Syria while freelancing for Agence France-Presse and the Boston-based GlobalPost, the AP reported. His family confirmed his death in a Facebook post Tuesday.
“He gave his life trying to expose the world to the suffering of the Syrian people,” read the statement, which was attributed to Foley’s mother, Diane Foley. She implored the militants to spare the lives of other hostages. “Like Jim, they are innocents. They have no control over American government policy in Iraq, Syria or anywhere in the world,” the AP reported.