Facebook Criticized After Censoring Iconic Vietnam War Photo

AP Photo/Nick Ut
AP Photo/Nick Ut

Facebook has come under heavy criticism after an iconic Vietnam War photo of a naked girl during a napalm attack has been banned from the platform.

The problem arose when Norwegian author Tom Egeland was suspended from Facebook after he posted a series of war photos that included the iconic Vietnam War picture.

Epsen Egil Hansen, editor of the largest Norwegian newspaper, Afterposten, wrote an open letter attacking Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg after he was forced by the company to delete the iconic image from his own Facebook page, claiming that he is “afraid” of Facebook’s increasing censorship.

“Dear Mark Zuckerberg. I follow you on Facebook, but you don’t know me. I am editor-in-chief of the Norwegian daily newspaper Aftenposten. I am writing this letter to inform you that I shall not comply with your requirement to remove a documentary photography from the Vietnam war made by Nick Ut,” wrote Hansen in his open letter.

The demand that we remove the picture came in an e-mail from Facebook’s office in Hamburg this Wednesday morning. Less than 24 hours after the e-mail was sent, and before I had time to give my response, you intervened yourselves and deleted the article as well as the image from Aftenposten’s Facebook page.

To be honest, I have no illusions that you will read this letter. The reason why I will still make this attempt, is that I am upset, disappointed – well, in fact even afraid – of what you are about to do to a mainstay of our democratic society.

“I think you are abusing your power,” declared Hansen. “And I find it hard to believe that you have thought it through thoroughly.”

Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg also criticized Facebook for deleting the photo from her own page, claiming, “What they do in removing such pictures, whatever their reasons, is to edit our common history.”

Facebook has developed an increasingly obtuse standard for which images break their policy requirements and what images are acceptable.

The social network has taken a firm stance against harmless comedy meme pages, deleting and then reinstating the popular anti-SJW page “Meninist,” removing anti-Hillary Clinton comedy pages, and even sanctioning page admins for uploading pictures of the rapper Drake morphed into a Nintendo 64 controller, forcing Facebook’s top comedy creators to start a revolt against the social network.

However, Facebook have repeatedly refused to deal with real violations of their policy, including a picture that portrayed a robed man beheading a police officer that was posted by a Black Panther page, and numerous pages threatening or calling for the execution of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

Facebook have not yet commented on their stance against the Vietnam War photo.

Charlie Nash is a reporter for Breitbart Tech. You can follow him on Twitter @MrNashington or like his page at Facebook.


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