Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg on Vietnam War Image Ban: ‘We Don’t Always Get It Right’

AP Photo/Nick Ut
AP Photo/Nick Ut

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg responded to the controversy surrounding her platform’s ban on an iconic Vietnam War image last week, stating, “We don’t always get it right.”

The problem arose when Norwegian author Tom Egeland was suspended from Facebook after he posted a series of iconic war images that included the iconic Vietnam War photo of a naked girl crying during a napalm attack.

Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg was even sanctioned on the platform after she also posted the image, and the editor of Norway’s biggest newspaper, Afterpostenpublished an open letter to Facebook after he too was affected, claiming that he had become “afraid” of the social network’s increasing censorship.

“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 Afterposten editor Epsen Egil Hansen in the open letter. “I think you are abusing your power, and I find it hard to believe that you have thought it through thoroughly.”

Sandberg’s response to the Norwegian Prime Minister was not originally made public, however it was eventually obtained by Reuters under Norway’s freedom of information laws.

“These are difficult decisions and we don’t always get it right,” said Sandberg in her letter. “Even with clear standards, screening millions of posts on a case-by-case basis every week is challenging… Nonetheless, we intend to do better. We are committed to listening to our community and evolving. Thank you for helping us get this right.”

Facebook have had numerous problems recently surrounding what content is and isn’t allowed on the platform.

A false 9/11 conspiracy story claiming to provide proof that explosives were planted in the World Trade Center accidentally made Facebook’s trending news section last week in what was deemed an error.

Many harmless comedy pages, however, have also found their content being frequently removed from the social network, despite failing to break any of the platforms rules and regulations.

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