Facebook is once again facing criticism for censoring an image. The social network has apologized after it removed a photograph showing Lasse Gustavson, a former firefighter who was severely injured in oil depot explosion 35 years ago.
A friend of Gustavson, Bjorn Lindeblad, uploaded the photograph on Sunday to celebrate the motivational speaker’s birthday.
In 1981, the then 24-year-old Gustavson was caught in an oil depot explosion in Gothenburg, Sweden that left him in a coma for two months and with permanent scars.
The Independent reports that Facebook removed Lindeblad’s post twice. When uploading the birthday photograph for the third time, he asked people to share the image as a protest against the company’s “disgusting policy.” Facebook restored the original photos and issued an apology after the post received over 30,000 shares.
“A member of our team accidentally removed something you posted on Facebook. This was a mistake, and we sincerely apologize for this error. We’ve reinstated the content, and you should now be able to see it,” the company said.
Lindeblad couldn’t understand why his post was removed, and only came to suspect it was due to the content of the photograph after being contacted by other burn victims who had experienced the same thing.
"At first, I was flabbergasted. 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," he wrote in his post.
Gustavson said the incident didn’t ruin his birthday, but noted that it could have been “very damaging” to someone in a similar situation, and his younger self may not have handled it as well.
“When I was 24, I probably would have felt offended and upset that pictures of me were considered wrong and unpleasant,” he said. “It is a very volatile and sensitive time, but now I have lived so long with my burns.”
Back in September, Facebook was slammed for removing the iconic “Napalm Girl” photograph because it violated the site’s policy on nudity.
Image credit: The Independent