#DearMark: How Aftenposten stood up against Facebook
Media associated with this campaign
Overview of this campaign
In September 2016, The Norwegian author Tom Egeland is censored by Facebook when he shares Nick Uts ionic photo ”The Terror of War” from the Vietnam war on his facebook account. Aftenposten coveres this story in an article containing the same photo, and shares it on our Facebook account. Shortly after, we received an e-mail from Facebook, asking us to remove the photo. Less than 24 hours later Facebook intervened and deleted the article as well as the image. So we decided to reply.
Aftenpostens Editor-in-chief, Espen Egil Hansen, wrote an open letter to Mark Zuckerberg, explaining why he would not comply with their requirements to remove the photo. The letter was the cover story of the printed edition, and was published in both Norwegian and English online. We also made a native Facebook video addressing Mark Zuckerberg directly. The video went viral. To make sure the right person received the message, we used Facebooks own audience targeting technology to promote the video to men between 29-33 years of age in Menlo Park, California, where Facebooks Headquarter is located.
#Dearmark was never planned as a campaign. Hence, it had no objectives or strategy. The story was the result of editorial engagement, and gained it’s success from a combination of powerful journalism, good timing and multi channel publishing.
Results for this campaign
The #dearmark article ended up becoming Aftenpostens most read story in 2016. The native Facebook video reached 2,3 million people, and the hashtag #dearmark was a trending topic that dominated the global debate across social media platforms the following day. The story was also referred to and debated by publishers all over the world.
But more importantly, the story had real consequences. Facebook backed down, and decided to allow the specific image “Terror of War” by Nick Uts. They reached out and initiated a dialogue, and have since participated more actively in the debate about their role in society. They have also changed their policy to allow more newsworthy graphic content.