Brutally Honest: Facebook Removes then Restores Images from Yemen


A couple of questions describe the problem with censorship: Who controls the censors? What biases do they have?

Please consider Photo of a Starving Girl in Yemen Prompts Facebook to Remove Posts of Article.

> For a few hours after The New York Times published an article about conflict and hunger in Yemen, Facebook temporarily removed posts from readers who had tried to share the report on the social platform.

> At issue was a photograph of a starving child.

> The article included several images of emaciated children. Some were crying. Some were listless. One, a 7-year-old girl named Amal, was shown gazing to the side, with flesh so paper-thin that her collarbone and rib cage were plainly visible. Tens of thousands of readers shared the article on Facebook, but some got a message notifying them that the post was not in line with Facebook’s community standards.

> Facebook had addressed the issue by Friday night.

> “As our community standards explain, we don’t allow nude images of children on Facebook, but we know this is an important image of global significance,” a spokeswoman said in an emailed statement. “We’re restoring the posts we removed on this basis.”

It took Facebook a few hours to realize it made a mistake in removing brutally honest images of the effects of the civil war in Yemen.

The images expose the blatant hypocrisy of the US in backing the corrupt Saudi Arabia regime in its war in Yemen.

This was not a nude image. It is not a "community standards" image. Nor was there any doubt about the authenticity of the image.

Any censor can judge "community standards" however they want, but Facebook is an international phenom, not Podunk USA.

Facebook could have and should have said "we f*ed up yet again" but never expect that.

Rather than rejecting that image, Facebook should have promoted it.

Instead, we had temporary censorship. Next time it might not be temporary.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Comments (24)
No. 1-10

Because FaceBook removes content it finds objectionable, all content that remains is therefore "approved' by them. They have ceased to be a neutral host of a public forum and are now editors of the contents displayed on their site. By assuming this responsibility, they have also assumed greater liabilities. (Cue the lawyers)


Isn't this true of all the "news" and any social type of media that is moderated? We are allowed to see what "they" wish to allow us to see. In effect, we get to see their bias, and little else.


Saudi Arabia vs Yemen is just a skirmish in the greater Sunni-Shia world war.

They have been butchering each for 1400 years occasionally stopping to join forces to butcher and enslave non muslim infidels.

The Koran and the example of the life of Muhammad are quite specific on how to treat infidels - both other sects of islam and non muslim.

Ron Cataldi
Ron Cataldi

Facebook is not a public forum, it's a for-profit company.


In some jurisdictions the jurisdiction decides - future EU. The Gov's then get to set the narrative and that's as bad (may be worse as all alternatives have to comply) and there is no chance of any legal challenge.

Imagine what happens when the Gov wants to completely control the narrative?


I cancelled my Facebook account long ago, and feel better for it. It seems that, for once, I was at the head of the wave, as Facebook's popularity is dropping. So if Facebook's little censor had not deleted that image, I -- along with many other people -- would never have seen it. Maybe that was the point of the temporary deletion? -- Drawing attention to the image? It is never pleasant to wonder if one is being manipulated.

As to the image itself -- tragic! But unfortunately not an unusual image in a world in which billions of human beings live in poverty, while others live in Venezuela. One has to wonder about the morality of a photographer who sees that child and takes a photo, instead of selling his camera to buy the child medical attention.

And we have to wonder about context. War is Hell; so is disease. What is the root problem for this particular unfortunate child?


Facebook own the website and they can do anything they like with it. Your statement is idiotic and has nothing to do with free speech unless of course you believe strangers are entitled to free speech in your bedroom at midnight.


Saudi Arabia is run by ruthless killers. Yemeni government is run by ruthless killers. Houthi rebels are ruthless killers.

If we fail to pick a side China will fill the vacuum. They'd love to increase their influence in an oil rich region.


Reality sucks and it is important we see this even if we don't want to!

As the world matured, communications improved, and as people traveled more many of us hoped the catalyst for war would diminish. Instead, with new technology, mankind has only expanded our abilities to spread death and destruction.

National pride, political agendas, religious and ethnic hatreds are some of the biggest roadblocks to world peace. The article below delves into why we continue to pursue warfare when it has proven to be a pathetic option in bringing about positive change,


Allowing Saudi Arabia(sunni) and Saudi Arabia's regional allies (sunnis) to use indiscriminate bombing and starvation tactics to slaughter the houthis in Yemen (branch of shias) is the biggest mistake Trump has made in foreign policy.

Saudi Arabia should be told to STOP bombing Yemen immediately and the starvation tactics Saudi Arabia(sunni) is using against houthis (branch of shias) in Yemen need to be stopped and USA needs to send food aid to Yemen.

Trump could also tie this food aid to paying US farmers better prices for their products before mid-term elections.

MBS is a war thirsty war criminal (attacks on Houthis in Yemen by Saudi Arabia and it's Sunni allies and the starvation tactics Saudi Arabia and allies have used in Yemen) and this Saudi Arabia's war against houthis (branch of shias) needs to be stopped.

It would make Trump the loser of the century if he allowed MBS to continue use Saudi Arabia's military and US fighter jets to continue slaughter Houthis aka Shias after MBS showed himself to be WORSE than the North Korean rocket-man by clearly ordering the torturing and murder of Saudi Arabian activist and journalist in the Saudi Embassy in Turkey.

MBS needs to go and be persona non-grata in USA and Europe and worldwide and the Saudi Arabia's war against Yemen which has become ethnic cleansing in practice through the starvation tactics and indiscriminate bombings needs to be stopped.

Trump is a WEAK LOSER if he allows Saudis to continue to slaughter Houthis aka Shias in Yemen.

Trump's son in law Jared Kushner must be the most incompetent presidential adviser EVER in the history of Whitehouse with his sucking up to MBS and continually giving Trump BAD ADVICE.

Was Jared Kushner buddy-buddy Whatsapping MBS even while Saudi thugs tortured and murdered the Saudi activist and journalist in the Saudi embassy in Turkey?

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