This 8 June 1972 photo shows children wounded by napalm bombs fleeing during the Vietnam war. Among them then 9-year-old Kim Phuc. Ms Kim Phuc, an adult woman now, still hurts from the napalm injuries which United States warplanes flown by the Saigon puppet regime then inflicted on her.
Translated from Dutch NOS TV:
The Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten has criticized Facebook sharply. In an open letter to their CEO Mark Zuckerberg, chief editor Espen Egil Hansen says that the platform has abused its power. Following the removal of a famous photo from the Vietnam war. Aftenposten is one of the largest newspapers in Norway.
The photo was used by the Norwegian writer Tom Egeland, in a story about iconic war photos. The newspaper reported this story on Facebook. On Wednesday, Facebook told Aftenposten that it would delete the photo.
Then that deletion happened within 24 hours and before the chief editor could respond, he writes. The image was removed according to Hansen because it showed a naked girl, Kim Phuc. When Egeland responded on Facebook to the deletion the platform decided to make it impossible for the writer to post any messages, says Hansen.
“This is serious”
“Listen, Mark,” Hansen writes. “This is serious. First you decide to make no distinction between child pornography and famous war photos and apply your rules without thinking properly. Then you censor criticism and debate about the decision and also punish critics.”
Hansen calls Zuckerberg the most powerful editor of the world. “I am convinced that you abused your power”, says Hansen. “I also think you have thought insufficiently.” Hansen also points to the role of the media in the Vietnam War: they made sure Americans did not get to see the true face of the conflict.
The Norwegian editor asks Zuckerberg what he will do if again terrible images turn up.
Hansen is not the first person criticizing Facebook’s policies. The platform often removes photographs and critics say that is against freedom of expression. Known in the Netherlands is an example of cartoonist Ruben L. Oppenheimer. A drawing by him was removed and then put back.
The guidelines of Facebook say that pictures of naked people will be removed.
The company always says they do that based on reports from users. The decision to remove a photograph is then taken by an employee of the company. In the case of the Vietnam picture this is startling, because this is a very famous photograph which has been published worldwide on countless occasions.