The photo that was too hot for Facebook

On June 9th 1972, Nick Ut captured an image which shook the world and helped to bring to an end a long and bloody war.  This image more than any other captured the true horror of that war and it proved too much for public opinion to stomach.  It catapulted both the photographer and the subject, Kim Phúc, to international fame and was awarded the Pulizer Prize and the World Press Photo of the Year Award for 1972.

When, following the alleged Sarin attack in Damascus last August, John Kerry, US Secretary of State and Vietnam veteran, stated, “Make no mistake: President Obama believes there must be accountability for those who would use the world’s most heinous weapons against the world’s most vulnerable people” it struck me as more than ironic given that no one was ever prosecuted or held to account for the US’s own use of heinous weapons during the Vietnam War.  Who could possibly be more vulnerable than a naked little girl?

So, it seemed only natural to put the two together, the statement made by John Kerry and the image from Vietnam.


The post took off, it was shared over a thousand times and had been viewed by around 50,000 people when Facebook first removed it, apparently for “violating community standards”.  I was given a 24 hour ban from posting as punishment.

This seemed absurd.  Facebook’s “Community Standards” state, “Facebook has a strict policy against the sharing of pornographic content and any explicitly sexual content where a minor is involved. We also impose limitations on the display of nudity. We aspire to respect people’s right to share content of personal importance, whether those are photos of a sculpture like Michelangelo’s David or family photos of a child breastfeeding.” Well, this image isn’t pornography, there is no sexual content involving a minor, and it was something of personal importance.  It’s also every bit as much art as Michelangelo’s David!

So, taking into account Facebook’s prudish nature, I amended the image and reposted it.  If anything, this actually sexualized it more…


…but still it was removed and I was given another ban.

Censorship on Facebook is reaching ridiculous levels.  Our page is reported a lot, and almost every image we post simply because there are organised groups of people dedicated to silencing our voice because they happen to disagree with us.  They call us a “hate” group, as if saying you don’t think someone is a hero is hateful (if we wanted to hate on soldiers we’d call them “murderers” or “baby killers”) and say we should be grateful to the troops who “defend our freedom”, whilst they in the same breath try to take it away.


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