Facebook & ‘Napalm Girl’

This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license; lastly edited by Kwon Yoo.

As of 2016, self-regulation on the Internet has become stricter ever than before. Which means that a large number of commercial websites enforce their power without a government’s intervention. In other words, the commercial companies/organisations restrict Internet users’ rights that are so-called the free-use of contents.

One of the recent instances is that Facebook deleted the photo of the napalm girl (The Verge 2016). As a result, this has become an issue among Internet users (The Verge 2016). Everyone, who studied the modern history especially the Cold War, may recognise the Pulitzer Prize-winning photo ‘Napalm Girl’ taken by Associated Press (AP) photographer Nick Ut (AP 2016). This well-known photo shows a naked Vietnamese child Phan Thi Kim Phuc fleeing from a South Vietnamese Air Force bomber’s napalm attack (AP 2016). Besides, this image is the historic photo that represents the brutality of war.

According to the Facebook’s community standards (2016) in terms of nudity, this indicates:

“People sometimes share content containing nudity for reasons such as awareness campaigns or artistic projects. We restrict the display of nudity because…”

“We also restrict some images of female breasts if they include the nipple, but we always allow photos of women actively engaged in breastfeeding or showing breasts with post-mastectomy scarring.”

Definitely, Facebook worried about the violation of the community standards (2016) “Facebook restricts the display of nudity”. However, Facebook allows the photo of women breastfeeding as you can see on Facebook. But honestly, the Company did not allow the display of the Pulitzer Prize-winning photo. What an ironic situation. Are you serious, Facebook? That photo is the historic proof of the brutality of the Vietnam War that can be used for an educational purpose.

The guidelines regulated by Facebook allow people to share ‘good contents’, and prevent people to share ‘unfit contents’. However, this is very subjective. What kinds of contents can be classified either ‘good contents’ or ‘unfit contents’? And who can judge this criterion? Maybe Mark Zuckerberg?


AP 2016, PHOTOGRAPHER NICK UT: THE NAPALM GIRL, Associated Press, viewed 12 October, <http://www.apimages.com/Collection/Landing/Photographer-Nick-Ut-The-Napalm-Girl-/ebfc0a860aa946ba9e77eb786d46207e>.

Facebook 2016, Community Standards, Facebook, viewed 12 October, <https://www.facebook.com/communitystandards>.

Vincent, J 2016, ‘Zuckerberg criticized over censorship after Facebook deletes ‘napalm girl’ photo’, The Verge, 9 September, viewed 12 October, <http://www.theverge.com/2016/9/9/12859686/facebook-censorship-napalm-girl-aftenposten>.


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