Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Nick Ut was attacked last Thursday in Washington D.C. The author of the iconic photo The Terror of War (also known as Napalm Girl) was having dinner with a friend when a man approached him and hit him.
After a rather recent public controversy over censorship rules, Facebook are revisiting their playbook when it comes to newsworthy images. Those posting images like the one at the top of this post by photography Nick Ut, were warned to remove or pixelate them to comply with Facebook’s guidelines. When even Norwegian Prime Minister, Erna Solberg reposted the photo to shot her support, her post was removed, too.
The images and associated posts have since been reinstated. It does leave obvious unanswered questions about what is and isn’t allowed, though. After receiving feedback from its community, Facebook are taking another look at their rules and how they can create a system that respects such work, while continuing to block things we don’t want to see.
Facebook is probably the biggest media outlet in the word, which probably makes Mark Zuckerberg the most powerful editor in the world. But with great power comes great responsibility, and that means that Facebook should be extra careful when deciding which photos they are removing from their network.
The story begins with Facebook removing a post (and the photo) of Norwegian daily newspaper Aftenposten. The photo was part of an article discussing seven photographs that changed the history of warfare. (By the way, the “real name” of this photo by Nick Ut is The Terror of War).
The next step was to delete a Facebook post by Tom Egeland, the author, discussing the removal or the initial photo, and blocking him from facebook for 24 hours.