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Facebook’s Censorship of Iconic Image Infuriates the World — Internet Lets Zuckerberg Have It

Facebook infuriated the Internet, again, first by the censoring one of the most iconic images from the Vietnam War posted by Norwegian author Tom Egeland — then, by subsequent post deletions of the same powerful image posted in support of the paper by the country’s politicians and even Norway’s prime minister.

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook, you are not the world’s all-powerful censor, and — no matter to what degree frothy-mouthed Puritanical zeal played a role here — you cannot claim to want to provide the world’s news by picking and choosing which topics you feel people should and should not discuss.

It’s tiresome. It’s totalitarian. And, it’s moves like this, that will ultimately force even the most conventional among us to jump ship for a less rigid social media vessel.

“Dear Mark Zuckerberg,” AftenPosten editor-in-chief Espen Egil Hansen penned in an op-ed about the removal of Kim Phuc’s naked and panicked escape from a napalm bomb, as captured in a Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph by Nick Ut on June 8, 1972. “I am writing this letter to inform you that I shall not comply with your requirement to remove a documentary photography from the Vietnam war made by Nick Ut.

“Not today, and not in the future.”

Ut’s stunningly expository image jolted the planet to the realities of the controversial war and is widely credited with bringing the conflict to an end. Understandably so, considering Phan Thị Kim Phúc was a mere nine years old when the Associated Press photographer snapped the picture — ultimately cementing in the international mind the petrified and distraught face of war as experienced by a wholly innocent child.

That image — the horrific aftermath of an errant napalm bombing near a Buddhist pagoda in the village of Trang Bang — has since reinvigorated countless anti-war campaigns, starkly plastered on innumerable magazine covers, mainstream and independent media articles, literature, textbooks, and other learning materials. Egeland thus included the photo among seven he said “changed the history of warfare.”

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But never mind all that. Mark Zuckerberg is here to save us from Kim Phuc’s naked body — no matter the altogether imperatively crucial extenuating circumstances.

Facebook, of course, didn’t end its authoritarian takedown with posts of one of the planet’s most famous war photographs — the megalomaniacal banhammer extended to include posts pointedly critical of the deletions, including one from Kim Phuc, herself.

In fact, Egeland, responsible for conveying her criticism to Facebook, has been banned by the social media hegemon from posting anything at all.

“Listen, Mark, this is serious,” Hansen continued. “First you create rules that don’t distinguish between child pornography and famous war photographs. Then you practice these rules without allowing space for good judgment. Finally you even censor criticism against and discussion about the decision — and you punish the person who dares to voice criticism.”

Even, apparently, Erna Solberg — the Conservative prime minister of Norway — who since rightly called for Facebook to “review its editing policy” amid a rapidly amplifying wildfire of controversy.

“I appreciate the work Facebook and other media do to stop content and pictures showing abuse and violence,” Solberg stated in her now-deleted post, the Guardian reported. “But Facebook is wrong when they censor such images.”

“I say no to this type of censorship,” she added.

Following the absurd deletion of her post, Solberg said, “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.

“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.”

It would behoove Zuckerberg, whom Hansen called “the world’s most powerful editor” — both from business and common sense standpoints — to take note of public outrage before the tiresome and inexplicable censoring relegates Facebook to the virtual dust bin of useless things.

Censorship, after all, does infinitely more to obviate the censor’s motives than anything — and during this time of countless military conflicts and increasing public disdain for war, removing an iconic anti-war image is far from an opaque move.

“I think you are abusing your power,” Hansen warned Zuckerberg in the editorial, “and I find it hard to believe that you have thought it through thoroughly.”

Hansen emphasized Facebook’s positive achievements in facilitating international conversations on timely topics, but cautioned Zuckerberg against selectively filtering potentially offensive topics and images — particularly given widely varied cultural and religious differences.

Such positive notions, perhaps once warranting praise, however, have notably been waylaid in recent months in favor of sweeping and unexplained censorship by the ubiquitous social media platform.

Hansen implored of Zuckerberg that “if you wish to increase the real understanding between human beings, you have to offer more liberty in order to meet the entire width of cultural expressions and discuss substantial matters.”

In fact, coping with Facebook’s tireless tricks constitutes little more than a groan-worthy daily chore for those whose business is spreading news and sparking discussions about pertinent — though often contentious — issues. As with any chore, once the burden becomes onerous, solutions will be sought — and Facebook’s heavy-handed censorship has an increasing number of people ditching the platform in favor of others where freedom of speech and expression is reality, rather than hollow mission statement.

Little recourse is provided those who fall victim to Facebook’s virtual book-burnings, leaving many — as in the case of the Vietnam War image — relegated to ranting on the same platform guilty of censoring. On Egeland’s posting of Kim Phuc’s criticism and subsequent banned account, Hansen wrote:

“If you take the liberty to challenge Facebook’s rules, you will be met — as we have seen — with censorship. And if someone will protest against the censorship, he will be punished, as Tom Egeland was.”

The irony of this cycle cannot be downplayed.

Duly noting doubts Zuckerberg would even happen upon his letter, Hansen admonished the censoring of Norway’s prime minister for the Guardian.

“At least they don’t discriminate,” the editor flatly deadpanned, “we have to give them credit for that.”

  • IceTrey

    Facebook is a private company they can do whatever they want. If you don’t like it don’t use it or start a competitor.

    • rioderek

      Ice Trey; you’re just as dumb as your name, you sheep are pathetic

      • IceTrey

        I’ve never had a Facebook account so exactly how am I a sheep to it? Moron.

        • Guy

          My mouthing your noblest platitudes of moral authority, all the while actually believing in the crap that you expel, as being some sort of truth, that anybody with half a brain would believe.

          You use this platform as your soapbox to spread the garbage of your convictions, while being the hypocrite you profess not to be !!

          Is that plane enough for you there bippy ?

          • IceTrey

            No it’s not plane it is however helicopter.

    • Giovanni Pincoletti

      We all know the rules about having your own business, but when a corporation jumps into the public arena for support, the people become a vital ingredient in the corporation’s demeanor.

      Business is a two way street and when the public wakes up to the fact that they have the ultimate power when they are united, it becomes incumbent upon them to force standards on Zukerberg, (Zucker Bird’s followers are Sucker Birds.) and not to just take a back seat and a hand’s off approach as you did, which is a 19th century view of corporations that hold a public trust. The Zuckerbergs get rich on other people’s money to whom they owe an obligation.

      • IceTrey

        “The Zuckerbergs get rich on other people’s money to whom they owe an obligation.”

        You obviously don’t understand how Facebook makes money. They don’t charge the users who want to post this pic a dime therefore they owe them NOTHING. The people they make money off of are the advertisers. That is who they care about and for whom they police the site. Just like Youtube demonitizing content that is not advertiser friendly so to does Facebook control its content.

        • OldeSoul

          You are the one who doesn’t understand how Facebook makes money. It makes billions selling massive quantities of personal data about its users to corporations and governments.

        • Beauford T. Justice

          And who do you think some of those advertisers are? Users.

    • lajaw

      They aren’t a private company. They are publicly traded.

      • IceTrey

        Are they part of the government?

  • Jora

    Maybe Zuckerberg should hire some people with liberal arts degrees.

    • lajaw

      There is nothing wrong with liberal arts degrees. But most students are no longer taught critical thinking, and that includes the BS degrees.

  • anna miller

    Well obviously the Controllers are getting nervous about the masses sharing too much relevant information. How many are aware of this news: Essentially the central authority of the Internet has belonged to the
    United States, since this is where it began and where the Internet
    Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) is located, which allocates IP
    addresses and manages the global Domain Name System. Starting
    on October 1st, however, IANA will be under the complete control of
    the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN),
    which is a non-profit corporation that has representatives from 111
    countries. This action originated from the Department of Commerce in
    2014, but it is technically not legitimate, since the the federal
    government is not able to cede control of federal property without
    Congressional approval. This maneuver will allow for far more
    censorship, since the internet will be under global governance, which
    makes the 1st Amendment of the US Constitution meaningless.
    What does it entail for the people to create a totally new internet? One that will be completely free of censorship? Where dissent is not only welcomed but encouraged? Is technology only to be used by the Controllers as a method for retaining control?

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    • crystal.koehler

      I make approximately six to eight thousand dollars monthly for freelance tasks i do at home. Those who are eager to do simple computer-based tasks for some hours /day at your home and gain decent benefit while doing it… Test this invitation http://korta.nu/NDe

    • Rod

      Gonna have to start using darkweb and VPN’s.

  • LieutenantM
    • FiuToYou

      Same here. I quit all these types of sites!

    • Paul LaD

      You are for Trump and look, you don’t know how to spell DELETED.


  • FiuToYou

    Everybody should just quit Facebook. Zuckerberg is getting real cozy with the ‘establishment’ richies! Next it’s the NSA he climbs in bed with. Same with Google!

  • That ZiNOist

    Facebook is such a piece of shit anyway, everyone should see this as a perfect reason to close their stupid as fuck Facebook accounts and let the platform go back where it came from. I’m pissed about YouTube pulling this crap because YouTube is actually useful. Zuckerberg is a piece of shit, he was birthed from his mothers asshole, so naturally anything he does is going to be shitty. No surprise then that he’s so cozy with the intel agencies, rotten piles of shit love other rotten piles of shit.

  • tvsgael2

    I’m sure Zuck the F never even saw that photograph before. Remember, this is a know nothing geek that started an internet site to meet girls. Like my friend used to say, ‘He slipped on a banana peel and and landed in a pool of naked women’. Just dumb luck.