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.”
The article highlighted the suffering of Yemeni civilians amid a devastating war pitting Houthi rebels and their allies against a Saudi-led coalition whose campaign of airstrikes, which are aided by American-supplied bombs and intelligence, have killed thousands of civilians. Economic warfare has worsened the despair for many Yemeni families, and the country is at risk of a catastrophic famine. The conflict began more than three years ago, and it received more attention when the killing of a Saudi dissident, Jamal Khashoggi, led to outrage and turned a spotlight on Saudi actions in the region.