Facebook has recently come under some scrutiny regarding its censorship. Norwegian author Tom Egeland published on Facebook last month a post about the history of warfare that included a famous photo of a young Vietnamese girl fleeing from napalm gas during the Vietnam War.
The controversy that arose over this photo is that the girl is completely naked, which violates Facebook’s standards about nudity. The girl, named Phan Thi Kim Phuc, was running away after being burned by South Vietnamese forces spraying napalm. Egeland and Espen Egil Hansen, editor in chief of the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten, assert that the picture holds historic significance as it shows the atrocities of war, and therefore should be an exception to Facebook’s policy. It even won the Pulitzer Prize in 1972.
In recent months, people have increasingly been commenting on the important role that Facebook plays in the media. Responding to these comments, CEO Mark Zuckerberg has stated that Facebook is first and foremost a tech company rather than a media company. This statement has aggravated some who think that Facebook holds the most power to influence the public’s media interest compared to other companies who actually identify as media companies.
Should Facebook be able to censor whatever they want simply because they technically don’t call themselves a “media” company? Should a company that has so much power over consumers be able to set limits on the types of journalism its users can see?