The Story Behind the ‘Napalm Girl’ Photo Censored by Facebook

The photo cemented Western public opinion against the war in Vietnam

This week, Facebook briefly removed and quickly reinstated one of the most powerful images to emerge from war—a 1972 photograph of a nine-year-old Vietnamese girl—after initially saying the image violates the company’s policies on displaying nudity. A censorship battle ensued.

Espen Egil Hansen, the editor-in-chief of Norway’s Aftenposten, slammed Mark Zuckerberg for a perceived abuse of power, calling the CEO of Facebook “the world’s most powerful editor.” On Friday, the company reinstated the picture and said “the value of permitting sharing outweighs the value of protecting the community by removal.” An initial Facebook statement recognized its iconic status but said “it’s difficult to create a distinction between allowing a photograph of a nude child in one instance and not others.”

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