Facebook on Friday reconsidered its earlier decision and finally allowed the iconic Vietnam war photo featuring a naked nine-year-old girl to be shared on its pages after facing widespread criticism for censoring it.

Earlier in the day, Espen Egil Hansen, the editor-in-chief and CEO of Aftenposten, Norway’s largest newspaper, had published an open letter to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg saying the decision to delete the historic photograph was “limiting freedom instead of trying to extend it”.

Hansen’s editorial raised questions about whether hard-and-fast rules executed through algorithms can be used universally to classify content on Facebook. The open letter added to the debate on Facebook's editorial power, given that the social media site is the among the world’s largest publishers of news, which requires a more nuanced approach and an understanding of context.

Norway's Prime Minister Erna Solberg joined the debate on Friday. "Facebook gets it wrong when they censor such pictures. It limits the freedom of speech," Solberg wrote in a post. "I say yes to healthy, open and free debate – online and wherever else we go. But I say no to this form of censorship."

Facebook also went on to delete her post, which had also included the photograph in question.

The company first stuck to its decision to disallow the photo, saying “it’s difficult to create a distinction between allowing a photograph of a nude child in one instance and not others.”

However, as the chorus against the move grew, Facebook changed its mind. In a statement, the social media company said it had reviewed its Community Standards in this instance “after hearing from [their] community]".

“An image of a naked child would normally be presumed to violate our Community Standards, and in some countries might even qualify as child pornography. In this case, we recognize the history and global importance of this image in documenting a particular moment in time.”

The girl featured in the photograph is among a group of children running away from a South Vietnamese napalm strike. The photograph is considered one of the most telling war images of all time, and won a Pulitzer prize in 1972.