Facebook Under Fire For Deleting Norwegian PM’s ‘Napalm Girl’ Photo

UPDATE: Friday, Sept. 9, 2015, 2:55 PM ET

While Facebook initially defended the decision, saying it’s difficult to “create a distinction between allowing a photograph of a nude child in one instance and not others,” the site decided to allow users to share the iconic photo, the Guardian reported.

ORIGINAL STORY

The Norwegian prime minister spoke out on Friday to criticize Facebook for deleting a string of posts of an iconic Vietnam War photo, escalating a conflict over the social networking giant’s ruling that the photo violates site rules.

The international incident was kicked off when Facebook told Norwegian writer Tom Egeland to remove a post featuring The Terror of War, a Pulitzer Prize winning photo that shows children, including a naked 9-year-old girl, fleeing a napalm attack in Vietnam with their faces contorted in horror.

As the Guardian reports, Egeland’s post discussed seven photos that “changed the history of warfare,” but the post led him to be suspended from the site. When Norway’s largest paper, Aftenposten, reported on the dust-up, which involved sharing the photo on its own Facebook page, the networking site requested the paper “remove or pixelize” the photo.

“Any photographs of people displaying fully nude genitalia or buttocks, or fully nude female breast, will be removed,” Facebook explained in the warning sent to Aftenposten.

Before the paper could respond to Facebook’s request, the article post was deleted from the paper’s page, according to the Guardian.

Aftenposten then published a front page editorial in the form of an open letter addressed to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. In the letter, Aftenposten editor-in-chief Espen Egil Hansen accused Zuckerberg of “abusing your power” as the “world’s most powerful editor.”

When Prime Minister Erna Solberg wrote a Facebook post in support of the Aftenposten’s stand, which included the photo, she found her post was also deleted.

“It is highly regrettable that Facebook has removed a record of my Facebook page,” Solberg told the newspaper, as translated by Politico. “I hope Facebook will use this opportunity to review its editing policy and takes the responsibility a large company that manages a broad communication platform should take.”

On Friday morning, she also reposted four iconic photos – including the one of “napalm girl” – that were pointedly censored.

This post has been updated.

Dear Reader,

When we asked recently what makes TPM different from other outlets, readers cited factors like honesty, curiosity, transparency, and our vibrant community. They also pointed to our ability to report on important stories and trends long before they are picked up by mainstream outlets; our ability to contextualize information within the arc of history; and our focus on the real-world consequences of the news.

Our unique approach to reporting and presenting the news, however, wouldn’t be possible without our readers’ support. That’s not just marketing speak, it’s true: our work would literally not be possible without readers deciding to become members. Not only does member support account for more than 80% of TPM’s revenue, our members have helped us build an engaged and informed community. Many of our best stories were born from reader tips and valuable member feedback.

We do what other news outlets can’t or won’t do because our members’ support gives us real independence.

If you enjoy reading TPM and value what we do, become a member today.

Latest Livewire
Comments
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Investigations Desk:
Reporters:
Newswriters:
Director of Audience:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Publisher:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: