Photo of burned firefighter twice removed by Facebook, prompts apology

Lasse Gustavson, 60, suffered severe burns when he was caught in an oil explosion in 1981


By FireRescue1 Staff

GOTHENBURG, Sweden — Facebook has issued an apology after removing a photo of a burned firefighter earlier this month. 

Former Swedish firefighter Lasse Gustavson, 60, was badly burned in an explosion in 1981, causing him to lose his hair, ears and skin, reported the Mirror. A friend of Gustavson’s, Bjorn Lindeblad, posted a photo of Gustavson on his timeline to wish him a happy birthday. Facebook removed the image twice. 

In his third attempt, Lindeblad reposted the photo and criticized Facebook for flagging photos of burn victims in the same way they do sexist and racist photos.

“Would you like to help me protest against a despicable Facebook policy? Then please share and spread this photo of one of the most beautiful souls I know,” wrote Lindeblad on Facebook, calling for users to share his post. It has been shared more than 30,000 times. 

“The post was removed in error. We have corrected to problem and notified the person who [posted] it to let them know and apologize,” wrote Facebook in an email.

When asked about the incident, Gustavson told the Telegraph, “When I was 24, I probably would have felt offended and upset that pictures of me were considered wrong and unpleasant.”

Gustavson was 24 when he was injured in a gas explosion; he was in a coma for two months. He is now a motivational speaker. 

“It was a very volatile and sensitive time … but now I have lived so long with my burns,” Gustavson said.

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