Gotta love those Facebook algorithms. Seriously. They examine the text of various posts and determine, by the subjective judgment of the programmers, just what is good for the people to see and what violates community standards.
Yeah, that doesn’t always work out so well.
On Wednesday, July 4, Independence Day in the United States of America, the Liberty County Vindicator out of Texas was in the midst of posting the text of the Declaration of Independence on Facebook – just like they do every year – when the last part of it was flagged as hate speech. Here’s the portion.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
The managing editor of the paper believes the phrase “Indian Savages” was the offending text. None the less, the immortal words of Thomas Jefferson were censored.
Rather ironic, the editor points out.
For their part in the incident, Facebook, um, apologized. AFTER IT HAPPENED.
Following complaints, Facebook reinstated the post, declaring in an email, “It looks like we made a mistake and removed something you posted on Facebook that didn’t go against our Community Standards. We want to apologize and let you know that we’ve restored your content and removed any blocks on your account related to this incorrect action.”
So, the algorithm has been updated, we the people assume. Good. Because history keeps getting rewritten and the words of Thomas Jefferson belie some of what is taught these days.