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Facebook management’s response to censorship of posts

Letter from Sheryl Sandberg, Chief operating officer at Facebook, to Prime Minister Erna Solberg.

Emne: Thank You

Prime Minister Solberg,

I am writing to personally thank you for the important issues you've raised regarding the photograph of Phan Thị Kim Phúc — and to let you know how seriously we take this matter, and also how we are handling it.

When the photo “Terror of War” was first published in 1972, it played an important role in changing public perception about the U.S. role in Vietnam. The image remains an important reminder of the war.

Every day, people come to Facebook to connect with people and issues they care about. Given the diversity of the Facebook community, this means that sometimes people share information that is controversial or offends others. We have global community standards that are designed to enable expression while providing a safe and respectful experience. Sometimes, though, the global and historical importance of a photo like "Terror of War" outweighs the importance of keeping nudity off Facebook. After hearing from you and other members of our community, we have decided to restore the photo.

These are difficult decisions and we don't always get it right. We are always working to consider the interests — and safety — of a large, global community. Even with clear standards, screening millions of posts on a case-by-case basis every week is challenging. Nonetheless, we intend to do better. We are committed to listening to our community and evolving. Thank you for helping us get this right.

I understand that you are interested in meeting Mark while at the UN meeting in New York. Unfortunately, Mark won't be there at that time. Our Director for EU Affairs, Thomas Myrup Kristensen, and our Policy Manager for the Nordics, Christine Grahn, will be in Norway on Friday and would like to meet with your staff to follow up.

I hope to see you soon — and am always available if you have further concerns.

My very best,

Sheryl
sheryl sandberg | chief operating officer | Facebook
1 hacker way | menlo park, ca | 94025