Norway’s largest newspaper Aftenposten published nude pictures of the national hero Fridtjof Nansen. That was too much for Facebook – and references to the photos were removed from Aftenposten’s Facebook page.
No nudity, please!, asks Facebook. And photos from 1929 of the Norwegian national hero Fridtjof Nansen were removed from Aftenposten’s Facebook page, which has almost 70.000 fans. In addition the newspaper received a warning that its Facebook page might be removed if new violations of Facebook’s policy were discovered.
Disclaimer: I work for Media Norge, which is the company owning Aftenposten.
The clash between Facebook and Aftenposten raises some interesting principal questions, especially to what extent it is fair that Facebook restricts what a media company (or any other company or person for that matter) publishes on its Facebook page.
Fridtjof Nansen (1861-1930) was a Norwegian national hero, well known both for his Arctic expeditions as well as his work to help refugees after the first world war.
Aftenposten tells the story of how Nansen at the age of 67 fell in love with the 30 year younger journalist Brenda Ueland, an American feminist and journalist.
In a new book letters Nansen wrote to Ueland are published, including nude photos Nansen took of himself and sent to his love hoping that whe would returns photos of herself without clothes.
Aftenposten published two of the photos in its article about the book – and also shared the link to the article to the 70.000 friends on its Facebook page. The article received a number of reactions from readers.
And then Facebook stepped in.
Within a few hours the link had been removed by Facebook from Aftenposten’s Facebook page.
Aftenposten also received a message warning that this photo was violating Facebook’s regulations, and that Aftenposten would risk being thrown out of Facebook if more violations were discovered.
“This message is a warning. Further violations may lead to your account being closed. Please read carefully through the declaration of duties and rights, and refrain from publishing offensive content in the future”, Facebook wrote.
Aftenposten’s editor-in-chief, Hilde Haugsgjerd, argues that Nansen is one of Norway’s biggest national heroes, and that it is known that he had relationships to many women. “Now there is a book on the market with this as the main topic, and we found it in order to cover this editorially”, she says to her own news site.
The photos in question are all from 1929.
So what do you think? Is it OK that Facebook censors this type of content? Or should the social network give media organizations some flexibility to decide for themselves what is proper content to be published under its bran?
I would love to hear your thoughts on this!