OSLO – Norway’s largest newspaper has published a front-page open letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, lambasting the company’s decision to censor a historic photograph of the Vietnam war and calling on Zuckerberg to recognize and live up to his role as “the world’s most powerful editor”.

Espen Egil Hansen, the editor-in-chief and CEO of Aftenposten, accused Zuckerberg of  “abusing your power” over the social media site that has become a lynchpin of the distribution of news and information around the world, writing, “I am upset, disappointed – well, in fact even afraid – of what you are about to do to a mainstay of our democratic society.”

“I am worried that the world’s most important medium is limiting freedom instead of trying to extend it, and that this occasionally happens in an authoritarian way,” he added.

Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg defied Facebook early Friday by posting the photograph, which the US behemoth says violates its nudity rules.

The 1972 picture of a naked Vietnamese girl running from a napalm attack was taken by photographer Nick Ut Cong Huynh for Associated Press and is considered one of the war’s defining images. It was honoured with the Pulitzer Prize.