Norwegian prime minister feuds with Facebook after it deletes iconic “napalm girl” photo 

Facebook is feuding with Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg after it deleted one of her posts featuring the iconic Vietnam War photo of a girl running naked after being burned in a napalm attack. Solberg was expressing support for a journalist whose previous Facebook post, which included the photo in a gallery of images “that changed the history of warfare,” had been taken down because it violated the social media giant’s guidelines. The writer, Tom Egeland, was also suspended from Facebook, and when newspaper Aftenposten wrote about his suspension in an article that included the photo, it also was pushed to delete the photo by Facebook.

Solberg is outraged, telling reporters: “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.”

In its reply, Facebook described the difficulty it has in making such determinations. The posts were not auto-deleted by algorithm but removed by its community standards unit after being reported by a user. 

A Facebook spokeswoman told the Guardian: “While we recognize that this photo is iconic, it’s difficult to create a distinction between allowing a photograph of a nude child in one instance and not others. We try to find the right balance between enabling people to express themselves while maintaining a safe and respectful experience for our global community. Our solutions won’t always be perfect, but we will continue to try to improve our policies and the ways in which we apply them.”

[Photo: AP Photo/Nick Ut]MB