Facebook accused of censorship for deleting photos about the Vietnam war

The largest Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten has accused Facebook of censorship and abuse of power” after the social network deleted from from the page of the publication of the famous photo of the Vietnam war, which depicts a Nude girl, the victim of the use of Napalm.

The main Aftenposten editor, Espen Egil Hansen, sent the head of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg’s open letter in which he wrote that the company’s actions constitute interference in the editorial policy of the publication. In response to the scandal, the Minister of culture of Norway Linda Helleland called for a meeting between the editors of the Norwegian publications and representatives from Facebook to discuss freedom of speech, writes the Financial Times.

As explained in a letter to Hansen, the conflict arose after Aftenposten published an article dedicated to photos that have changed the course of the war. The material was, in particular, illustrated by a photograph taken in 1972 by Nick Atom, which received the Pulitzer prize.

According to Hansen, he received a letter of representation of Facebook in Hamburg with the request to remove the photo from the page publications in the social network, as it violated the ban on publishing images of Nude children. Then, without waiting for the reaction of the publication, wrote its chief editor, the social network removed the post with the photo, and then a few posts with criticism written by the author of the article, which eventually banned the use of social media within days for violating its rules.

“The rights and duties that have all the editors in the world, should not depend on algorithms invented in your office in California. Editors can’t live with you, mark, as editor-in-chief,” wrote Hansen in an appeal to Zuckerberg.

The representative of Facebook said that the social network recognize this iconic photo, but difficult to distinguish, in some cases, photos of Nude children can be published and which not. The company said that photos of Nude children are not automatically removed, and the decision of the group compliance with the community standards, which employees are working worldwide, in response to user complaints.

Action Facebook has caused rallies of support on the part of the Norwegians, who began to publish the photo in social networks. Also received Prime Minister Erna Solberg, writing that Facebook is doing wrong, doing the censorship. FT said that as of Friday morning the visit of the Norwegian Prime Minister was not subject to censorship, but by 15:00 GMT the naked girl was locked in a black rectangle.

The Norwegian press Association called the Norwegian petroleum Fund, which is the world’s largest sovereign wealth Fund, to assess the ethics of actions of Facebook, writes the FT. The newspaper reminds that the Fund has got rid of investments in companies that it suspected of violation of human rights, as happened with Walmart in 2006. Norway’s oil Fund owns a 0.5% stake in Facebook, worth an estimated $2 billion.

In may, Facebook has faced accusations of censorship in the United States. The company was suspected of selective approach to the publication of opinions of conservative politicians. In August, the social network announced that instead of the editors a list of the most relevant topics for the news feed will select a special algorithm.

Facebook is the largest social network in the world and employs more than 1.7 billion active subscribers who use it at least once per month. According to research by the Pew Foundation, 44% of American adults Facebook is the main source of news.