Facebook does about-face after blocking historic photo of nude Vietnamese girl

Facebook, after a widespread backlash on its decision to disallow the famous image from the Vietnam War showing a naked girl fleeing a napalm attack, has reversed course.

The social-media giant had deleted a post by a Norwegian writer that included the 1972 Pulitzer-winning photo by the AP's Nick Ut. The iconic image, "The Terror of War," shows children – including the naked 9-year-old Phan Thị Kim Phúc – running away from a napalm attack during the Vietnam conflict.

Facebook originally defended the action, saying the image violated its community standards because it showed a nude child. But after the controversy spawned a hashtag Friday on Twitter, #napalmgirl, with numerous outraged commenters accusing Facebook of censorship, Facebook decided to make an exception.

"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 Facebook rep said in a statement.

See photos of Kim Phuc, who is known as 'napalm girl'

Kim Phuc, Napalm Girl
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Kim Phuc, Napalm Girl

The spokeswoman added, "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."

According to Facebook, the company will adjust its review mechanisms to permit sharing of the image in the next few days. "We are always looking to improve our policies to make sure they both promote free expression and keep our community safe, and we will be engaging with publishers and other members of our global community on these important questions going forward," the company said.

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