Norwegian newspaper editor Espen Egil Hansen has written an open letter to Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg.
The reason? Facebook removed a post published by the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten which contained the Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph of a young girl running naked down a road after being burnt in a napalm attack during the Vietnam war.
Listen, Mark, this is serious. First you create rules that don’t distinguish between child pornography and famous war photographs. Then you practice these rules without allowing space for good judgement. Finally you even censor criticism against and a discussion about the decision – and you punish the person who dares to voice criticism.
Facebook is too powerful, and its decisions often erratic and contradictory. There are plenty of ghastly and unpleasant things on Facebook that it could protect its users from, but to which it chooses to turn a blind eye.
However, banning such a well-known and iconic image, a photograph that has gone down in history and helped hasten the end of the Vietnam War, seems absurd.
Update: As BBC News reports, Facebook has changed its mind about the so-called ‘Napalm girl’ image:
The tech giant said it had “listened to the community” and acknowledged the “global importance” of the photo.
“Because of its status as an iconic image of historical importance, the value of permitting sharing outweighs the value of protecting the community by removal, so we have decided to reinstate the image on Facebook where we are aware it has been removed,” it said in a statement.
“It will take some time to adjust these systems but the photo should be available for sharing in the coming days.
“We are always looking to improve our policies to make sure they both promote free expression and keep our community safe.”