It was meant to be a Facebook tribute to a dear friend: a picture accompanied by a sweet birthday message from one friend to another.
Instead, it was removed not once, but twice, for violating the social media site's policy.
The reason? it was considered to be offensive in nature. Lasse Gustavson is the birthday boy and the man in the "questionable" photo. When he was 24 years old, theSweedish firefighter was seriously injured in an explosion at an oil depot. According to The Independent, he spent two months in a coma. When he woke up, he was permanently disfigured.
The original message:
"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."
Bjorn Lindeblad, the friend who shared the birthday message, re-posted the message a third time - but, this time calling for others to share it as much as they could. The post has gone viral with over 30,000 shares!
Facebook only restored the image after more than 10,000 people shared Lindeblad's message of outrage, criticizing their "disgusting policy."
"It's an offensive system Facebook has with this kind of censorship. You could call it a kind of racism," said Mr Gustavson, who has no ears, hair or eyebrows, in an interview with Sweden's Aftonbladet newspaper.
The most troubling part is that this is not an isolated incident. Facebook has been censoring the photos of other users with scars and disfigurements.
In his Facebook post, Lindeblad wrote, "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."
Facebook apologized to Lindeblad and the images were reinstated, their excuse was that the image had been removed "accidentally."
What do you think? Is this appropriate censorship, or does Facebook need to reevaluate it's policies?
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