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Facebook 'Napalm Girl' Photo Sparks Controversy After It's Pulled

Image: Facebook 'Napalm Girl' Photo Sparks Controversy After It's Pulled

The cover to Norway's largest circulation newspaper, Aftenposten, displayed in Oslo Friday Sept. 9, 2016. (Cornelius Poppe, NTB scanpix via AP)
 

By    |   Friday, 09 Sep 2016 11:58 AM

Facebook's deletion of the award-winning "napalm girl" photo connected with the Vietnam War has brought charges of censorship from Norway's largest newspaper.

In a front-page open letter, Aftenposten CEO and editor-in-chief Espen Egil Hansen accuses Facebook head Mark Zuckerberg of "abusing" his power after the social media giant reportedly removed a post containing the Pulitzer Prize-winning photo, The Guardian reported.

The 1972 photo depicts a naked 9-year-old, Kim Phuc, as she runs away from a napalm attack with other children. The photo, along with the post, appeared on Aftenposten's Facebook page before the social media site pulled it, according to The Guardian.

"[Facebook's] demand that we remove the picture came in an e-mail from Facebook's office in Hamburg this Wednesday morning," Hansen wrote. "Less than 24 hours after the e-mail was sent, and before I had time to give my response, you intervened yourselves and deleted the article as well as the image from Aftenposten's Facebook page."

"To be honest, I have no illusions that you will read this letter. The reason why I will still make this attempt, is that I am upset, disappointed — well, in fact even afraid — of what you are about to do to a mainstay of our democratic society," he continued.

According to Hansen, Facebook banned Norwegian author Tom Egeland from posting on Facebook after he posted a story he wrote about photographs that changed the history of warfare. Facebook deleted the "napalm girl" photo then as well and then suspended Egeland when he wrote a post complaining about the removal.

"But, dear Mark, you are the world's most powerful editor. Even for a major player like Aftenposten, Facebook is hard to avoid. In fact we don't really wish to avoid you, because you are offering us a great channel for distributing our content"

"However, even though I am editor-in-chief of Norway's largest newspaper, I have to realize that you are restricting my room for exercising my editorial responsibility. This is what you and your subordinates are doing in this case. I think you are abusing your power, and I find it hard to believe that you have thought it through thoroughly," Hansen continued.

Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg stepped into the dispute Friday, taking the side of Aftenposten, according to The Wall Street Journal.

"It is highly regrettable," Solberg said in a text message sent through an aide, according to The Journal. "What they do by removing such images, no matter what good intentions, is to redact our shared history."

The Norwegian Press Association also appealed to Norway's sovereign-wealth fund, which owns $1.53 billion in Facebook shares, to exert pressure on Facebook, but the fund has declined to comment, The Journal noted.

Facebook issued a statement on the controversy.

“While we recognize that this photo is iconic, it is difficult to create a distinction between allowing a photograph of a nude child in one instance and not others,” the company said in an emailed comment to The Journal.

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Facebook's deletion of the award-winning "napalm girl" photo connected with the Vietnam War has brought charges of censorship from Norway's largest newspaper.
facebook, napalm, girl, photo
496
2016-58-09
Friday, 09 Sep 2016 11:58 AM
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