YouTube flags famous photo “Napalm Girl” because it “violates Child Safety Policy”

Jan 8, 2020

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

YouTube flags famous photo “Napalm Girl” because it “violates Child Safety Policy”

Jan 8, 2020

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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Facebook has gone under fire a few times so far for censoring “nude” images that are artistic, iconic, or merely show nude statues. And after Facebook censored the famous Nik Ut’s photo “Napalm Girl,” it looks like YouTube followed the same footsteps. Martin Kaninsky of All About Street Photography recently uploaded a video that tells the story behind this iconic photo. However, it was soon flagged for violating YouTube’s Child Safety Policy.

YouTube video

Shortly after uploading his video Story Behind The The Terror of War: Nick Ut’s “Napalm Girl” (1972), Martin received Community Guidelines strike from YouTube. The strike he received was for a link featured in his video and it leads to allthatsinteresting.com.

The story found on this link is relevant for the video, considering that it gives more information on Nick Ut’s image. It shows the iconic photo we all know along with two more images. One of them depicts the girl standing in a puddle of water that had been poured over her burns.

Martin was notified by YouTube that this links violates its Child Safety Policy and it was therefore removed. “What is going on? Is this how you treat important history?” Martin wonders in a tweet he shared after YouTube penalized him.

https://twitter.com/AASP___/status/1214527182195834880

As I mentioned, Facebook also flagged the photo as inappropriate, and it was back in 2016. After a pretty loud public outcry, Facebook uncensored the image and promised to relax its restrictions on newsworthy images. Still, it had some bizarre decisions, such as censoring a Rubens painting or a 30,000-year-old statue of a naked woman, but that’s another story.

As for YouTube, it’s hard to say what’s wrong and what’s right here. On the one hand, I believe that social media should relax their policy on iconic, newsworthy and historically important images. This includes “Napalm Girl,” along with some other photos taken during the same event.  But on the other hand, many of these photos are flagged automatically because AI recognizes them as inappropriate. Also, it can be difficult even for a human to distinguish what is iconic, newsworthy and historically important, since these criteria can’t escape a subjective judgment. So, I’m not really sure how I’d handle this.

What do you think, was YouTube right to flag this video?

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Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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10 responses to “YouTube flags famous photo “Napalm Girl” because it “violates Child Safety Policy””

  1. Duncan Knifton Avatar
    Duncan Knifton

    but allow blood thirsty hunters showing themselves killing animals and laughing about it ???

  2. Marco Peixoto Avatar
    Marco Peixoto

    We are heading to a World full of stupid people… yes even more than we ever had… Im glad I grow up when there was no internet

    1. Ron Snyder Avatar
      Ron Snyder

      And fewer stupid people!

  3. Iván Camilo Ospina Avatar
    Iván Camilo Ospina

    War is real. People don’t bleed pixels.

  4. Benjamin Lauwick Avatar
    Benjamin Lauwick

    This is what happens when you trust algorithms more than people… ?

  5. Les Cameron Avatar
    Les Cameron

    probably an illustration of “artificial intelligence” not being “intelligent” – which is the point the article reaches

    should the photo be removed? You might be able to make an argument for “discretionary access” of some kind – but removed for the stated reason? absolutely not

    I’m guessing there is some appeal process – YouTube has been criticized for many legitimate reasons – and often responds like a company run by “engineers” (for better or worse). now that they seem to have figured out the “copyright problem” they are trying to deal with the “appropriate content” problem …

  6. Thomas Davies Avatar
    Thomas Davies

    Despite the context, I suppose technically it is a violation of the terms of service

  7. Robert Hicks Avatar
    Robert Hicks

    Gee censors censoring who ever would have expected this turn of events

  8. Alexandre Pontes Avatar
    Alexandre Pontes

    Consequences of the stupidity of woke narrative and the rise of the snowflakes.

    1. Rick Avatar
      Rick

      I second that!