Norwegian editor wants Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to talk censorship after ‘Napalm Girl’ controversy

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is getting another thumbs down from a Norwegian newspaper editor for remaining silent more than a week after the company pulled down an iconic Vietnam War photo.

The social media company, which initially said the photo violated its rules on nudity, reversed the decision and apologized, but Zuckerberg hasn’t publicly addressed the controversy.

“The silence is not surprising. Facebook does not want to be conceived as a media company, only as a technology platform. It is a matter of appearances. Facebook may not be a media company, but on the other hand it is not just a neutral platform, as the censoring of The Terror of War clearly shows,” Espen Egil Hansen, editor-in-chief and CEO of Aftenposten, wrote in an op-ed published by The Guardian on Tuesday.

Hansen was the news editor who accused Zuckerberg of abusing his power in early September, fueling a worldwide discussion about Facebook and censorship. The Pulitzer Prize-winning photo that was pulled from several accounts shows 9-year-old Kim Phuc running away from a napalm attack during the Vietnam War.

“Zuckerberg is de facto the most powerful editor-in-chief on the globe. His influence is greater than all the Rupert Murdochs of this world could dream about,” wrote Hansen, who called the company a “frenemy of the people.”

SiliconBeat reached out to Facebook and this post will be updated if the company responds.

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg has responded to uproar about the censorship of the photo, telling Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg in a letter that the company will do better.

Zuckerberg hasn’t strayed away from talking about tussles with the media in the past. The 32-year-old tech mogul publicly posted his thoughts after tech blog Gizmodo reported in May that Facebook workers suppressed conservative news in its trending topics section. The company said it didn’t find any evidence to support these claims, but is relying less on human curators.

Since then, though, fake news stories have made its way to the trending topics section.

“Algorithms that primarily make sure users are being fed more of what they like – and less of what they don’t like – are convenient when you are watching Netflix but are a questionable principle for the free flow of information in a democracy,” Hansen wrote.

Photo: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. (Kirstina Sangsahachart/Daily News)


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