Facebook slammed for removing this burn victim's photo because it was 'graphic'


Facebook has come under fire for repeatedly removing this birthday photo taken on a burn victim's birthday.

The photo, showing Swedish former fireman Lasse (Lars) Gustavson whose face was left scarred for life years ago, was posted by his friend Bjorn Lindeblad in celebration of his 60th birthday.

"I´m now posting it on Facebook for the third time within 36 hours," reads Bjorn's translated Facebook post which has since garnered more than 27 000 reactions and over 31 000 shares.

"Facebook has removed the photo twice already, with no explanation whatsoever."

On top of it, Facebook "expelled" Bjorn from his Facebook account.

"At first, I was flabbergasted," he wrote.

"Then several burn victims contacted me and explained that photos of burn victims are often classified in the same category as sexist and racist photos on Facebook. Oh dear. So let's let Facebook know how we feel about this policy by spreading this photo far and wide!"

He also shared the heartfelt caption he had shared on his original birthday tribute to his friend.

"The first time I posted this photo on Facebook, early Sunday morning, I enclosed these lines:

'Today is your 60th birthday, my friend. You´re enjoying yourselves royally in Southern Sweden, while I´m working hard on the West coast. And that's completely OK.

'Because thanks to people like you, I can now do my work joyfully. You brought me light, when almost everything inside felt dark. You opened doors, that I assumed would remain closed forever. You call me, eerily often, just when I need to hear your voice and your wisdom.

'You tease the excessive seriousness out of me, when that's whats needed. You're living proof that wisdom and playfulness walk hand in hand. And you remind me, again and again, of so much of what's beautiful about true manliness.'"

Speaking to the Telegraph, Bjorn said the censoring of photos "is a regular occurrence when burn victims post something where you can clearly see the burns."

Survivor Lasse also weighed in on the matter.

“It’s an offensive system Facebook has with this kind of censorship. You could call it a kind of racism,” he told Sweden’s Aftonbladet newspaper.

The social networking giant has since apologized for removing the photo.

“A member of our team accidentally removed something you posted on Facebook This was a mistake, and we sincerely apologise for this error. We’ve reinstated the content, and you should now be able to see it.”

This is not the first time Facebook has been slammed for its controversial censorship policy.

A few months ago, a photo of plus-size model Tessa Holliday in a bikini was removed by Facebook because it “depicts a body or body parts in an undesirable manner”.

Just before that, a powerful photo of a father cradling his sick son in the shower was also taken down for reportedly contravening some of the social network’s strict nudity rules.

Do you think Facebook was wrong to censor the photo of the burn victim? Have your say on our Facebook page.


Read more:

Facebook bans photo of plus-size model because it was ‘undesirable’

This photo of a father holding his sick son keeps getting removed from Facebook

Mom shares ‘uncensored’ photo to show what life after giving birth is really like

10 things you need to do to make sure your Facebook account is safe and secure

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Show Comments ()