It’s all over the news now, an open letter written by Espen Egil Hansen, the editor-in-chief of Norway’s largest newspaper, Aftenposten, after Facebook temporarily deleted a post containing an iconic Vietnam War photograph, and then deleted posts criticizing the initial photograph’s removal.
Facebook staunchly defended its decision at first. It took Facebook 2 weeks to figure out the difference between war photography and kiddie porn. Facebook reversed itself and announced that the photo will be allowed after all because of its historic significance.
“An image of a naked child would normally be presumed to violate our Community Standards, and in some countries might even qualify as child pornography,” a spokeswoman told The Huffington Post in a statement. “In this case, we recognize the history and global importance of this image in documenting a particular moment in time. Because of its status as an iconic image of historical importance, the value of permitting sharing outweighs the value of protecting the community by removal, so we have decided to reinstate the image on Facebook where we are aware it has been removed. We will also adjust our review mechanisms to permit sharing of the image going forward.”
Very well then. How the status as an iconic image of historical importance is or will be determined? By whom? By the algorithms encoded in Facebook office in California, of course. So happens, these algorithms, however sophisticated, have already assumed the tasks and the duties of the omnipotent editor-in-chief.
“This right and duty, which all editors in the world have, should not be undermined by algorithms encoded in your office in California,” Hansen says in his letter.
I don’t have a Facebook account, thus I cannot be 100% certain that the pictures below would pass Facebook’s scrutiny. God knows, maybe for lack of historical importance, deemed not iconic enough. Lots of nudity, you see. Pedophiles of the world might get overly excited.
This photograph, taken in one of the Nazi’s concentration camps, for instance:Or this one, of starving children of Africa:
Or this one, of holodomor in Ukraine: