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“Mark, this is serious”: Facebook removed a snapshot of the Vietnam War and angered the Norwegians

Espen Egil Hansen
Espen Egil Hansen

The editor-in-chief of the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten, Espen Egil Hansen, wrote an open letter to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg after a famous photo with a naked Vietnamese girl burned with napalm was removed from the social network page.

According to Hansen, earlier he received a request to remove a picture taken in 1972 and received the Pulitzer Prize, and less than 24 hours later the photo was removed from the Aftenposten page without editorial intervention.

The journalist said that some time ago, Facebook also removed this picture from the page of Norwegian writer Tom Eagland, who published a selection of seven photographs that changed the course of the war. After Igland criticized Facebook for this decision, his page was blocked.

Mark, this is serious. First, you create rules that do not draw a line between child pornography and famous military photographs. Then you stick to these rules, not allowing space for discussion. Finally, you even censor criticism and discussion of the decision – and punish the person who dared to criticize.

Espen Egil Hansen, journalist

Hansen acknowledged that Facebook benefits and enjoys the world, including allowing its users to share their worries and joys with relatives and friends, but noted that the social network is abusing its power.

The editor also asked Zuckerberg a rhetorical question whether Facebook would limit the publication of such images in the event of a new war because “an insignificant minority may be offended by images of naked children or some pedophile may consider them pornography.”

According to the Norwegian, Facebook can help people understand each other better if they give more freedom to discuss important issues.

Prime Minister of Norway Erna Sulberg joined the protests about unjustified censorship in the social network . She also published a picture on her page, but it was deleted, after which Sulberg noticed that such a policy helps to restrict freedom of speech.

The representative of Facebook explained that the company recognizes the iconic picture, and the network algorithms do not always work perfectly, but they will continue to improve.

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