|Image: Nick Ut/The Associated Press|
Last month Norway’s largest newspaper, Aftenposten, published an open letter on its front page, accusing Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg of ‘abuse of power.’ The letter was published as a response to Facebook removing the famous ‘Napalm Girl’ image, taken by photographer Nick Ut, from the newspaper’s Facebook page on the grounds of a blanket ban on nudity in all images posted on the social network.
The picture had been used in an article about the seven most iconic images in the history of war. After receiving a wave of intense criticism following the incident, Facebook has announced in a blog post that it will be relaxing its photo censorship rules around news events:
‘In the weeks ahead, we’re going to begin allowing more items that people find newsworthy, significant, or important to the public interest — even if they might otherwise violate our standards. We will work with our community and partners to explore exactly how to do this, both through new tools and approaches to enforcement. Our intent is to allow more images and stories without posing safety risks or showing graphic images to minors and others who do not want to see them.’
We will have to wait and see how exactly this will be defined but it’s fair to assume that Nick Ut’s picture would have been considered historically significant and therefore safe under the revised guidelines.
We should expect any changes to take effect within the next few weeks as Facebook is working on replacing its filter algorithms. The company says it will be working closely with experts, publishers, journalists, photographers, law enforcement officials and safety advocates to achieve this.
What do you think? Is this a step in the right direction for Facebook? Let us know in the comments.