The editor of Norway’s largest newspaper, Aftenposten, has attacked Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in a new opinion piece for The Guardian, criticizing the social network for their censorship and Zuckerberg’s failure to address the situation himself.
“In every TV studio where Facebook’s powerful position is being debated, one chair remains empty. In every newspaper article, every blogpost and every Facebook thread that challenges the company, one participant is missing,” wrote Aftenposten editor Epsen Egil Hansen in The Guardian on Tuesday. “Where is Mark Zuckerberg? A man now more powerful than most state leaders.”
“To an increasing number of people, Facebook is tantamount to the internet. More than 1 billion people use it every day,” continued Hansen. “To the extent that those billion visit other websites, they often do so via a link from Facebook. Even if not all media companies publish directly on Facebook, this is where their users share, engage with the content, and discuss it. This makes Facebook, if not a media company, then definitely a gatekeeper for all media companies in the world.”
An increasing part of the population states that Facebook is their main deliverer of information about what is going on in the world. Zuckerberg is de facto the most powerful editor-in-chief on the globe. His influence is greater than all the Rupert Murdochs of this world could dream about.
Hansen was also the man behind a very critical open letter to Facebook earlier this month after the social network banned the use of an iconic Vietnam War image, leading to Hansen, author Tom Egeland, and even the Norwegian Prime Minister’s sanctioning on the platform.
“I am upset, disappointed – well, in fact even afraid – of what you are about to do to a mainstay of our democratic society,” said Hansen in his original open letter to Facebook earlier this month.
“I think you are abusing your power,” he declared. “And I find it hard to believe that you have thought it through thoroughly.”
After much public backlash, Facebook reversed their ban of the iconic Vietnam War image, which features a naked girl crying during a napalm attack.
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg personally apologized to Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg after the controversy, stating, “We don’t always get it right.” However Facebook failed to apologize to either Hansen, Egeland, or the public.