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9 Sep, 2016 14:56

Facebook deletes Norway PM’s post criticizing the company’s censorship of iconic Vietnam photo

Facebook deleted a post by Norway Prime Minister Erna Solberg which criticized the social networking service for censoring the iconic ‘Napalm Girl’ photo from the Vietnam War.

Solberg posted the Pulitzer Prize-winning image taken by AP photographer Nick Ut in defiance of the social media giant’s decision to censor it.

According to Facebook, the image is in violation of its community standards as it depicts nudity.

Solberg shared the image along with the following statement: "I appreciate the work Facebook and other media are doing to stop content and pictures showing abuse and violence. It is important that we all help to combat violence and abuse against children. But Facebook gets it wrong when they censor such images as it contributes to limiting the freedom of expression.”

"I support a healthy, open and free debate - online and elsewhere. But I say no to this form of censorship," she added.

The PM’s post was deleted soon after it had been posted, without warning or notification.

“It is highly regrettable that Facebook has removed a post from my Facebook page. What they achieve by removing such images, good as the intentions may be, is to edit our common history. I wish today's children will also have the opportunity to see and learn from historical mistakes and events. This is important,” she told RT. “I hope Facebook uses this opportunity to review its editing policy, and assumes the responsibility a large company managing a broad communication platform should take.”

Norway’s biggest newspaper, Aftenposten, featured the photograph on its front page and published an open letter to Facebook founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg on Friday, accusing the billionaire of abusing his power and restricting the paper’s editorial freedom.

The editorial blasted Facebook for stifling criticism due to its decision to delete a post by Norwegian writer Tom Egeland, which pointed to Facebook’s censorship and its subsequent ban on the writer.

The Napalm Girl picture, showing villagers fleeing a 1972 US attack using the flammable liquid napalm, is one of the most graphic depictions of America’s war crimes in Vietnam.

The body of Kim Phuc, the naked girl in the photo, is seen burning from the napalm and her face reveals the anguish of war.

The photograph served as a shocking wake up call for Americans, who had little knowledge of the realities of the Vietnam war.

A spokesperson for Phuc joined the criticism of Facebook.

“Kim is saddened by those who would focus on the nudity in the historic picture rather than the powerful message it conveys,” they said. “She fully supports the documentary image taken by Nick Ut as a moment of truth that captures the horror of war and its effects on innocent victims.”

Facebook is repeatedly coming under fire for its censorship practices, including conservative news content and posts about the Black Lives Matter movement.