Facebook is desperately trying to cover its rear end for one of its most brazen acts of politically correct censorship yet.
It BLOCKED part of the Declaration of Independence!
Even worse, it did so for one of the most offensive reasons imaginable: It called one of the world’s most important documents “hate speech.”
The troubles began when The Liberty County Vindicator, a Texas newspaper, began posting excerpts from the Declaration on the social network in the days leading up to the Fourth of July
Most of the posts hit Facebook without incident.
Then, they posted paragraphs 27 through 31.
Facebook sent The Vindicator an angry – and likely automated – message that the lines in one of nation’s founding documents “goes against our standards on hate speech.”
Facebook didn’t specify what line it had a problem with, but the likely candidate is this one, listing one of the many grievances against King George III:
“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.”
Obviously, this is not language that would be used today and the Indians weren’t merciless savages.
The tribes of the time played a complicated role in the Revolutionary War.
“Many Indian nations tried to stay out of the conflict, some sided with the Americans, and those who fought with the British were not the king’s pawns: they allied with the Crown as the best hope of protecting their homelands from the encroachments of American colonists and land speculators,” the National Park Service notes.
In any case, while the line contains dated views and would not be acceptable today, it comes from one of the Charters of Freedom and is among the nation’s founding documents.
Facebook’s censorship robots didn’t care. The post was pulled – although to their credit, when word got out, they quickly restored it and issued an apology.
“It looks like we made a mistake and removed something you posted on Facebook that didn’t go against our Community Standards,” the company told the Vindicator. “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.”
The mistake shows just how much power these companies now have. With so much information going through the Silicon Valley elites such as Facebook, we’re reaching the point where THEY could be writing, rewriting or in some cases stealing our nation’s proud history.
“[Facebook’s] apology did not imply that it was algorithmic, though it also did not specify either way,” Tarleton Gillespie, principal researcher at Microsoft New England, told Slate. “If anything, part of the problem here is that we do not truly understand how these decisions are made, only that they are. This is a bigger problem than getting it wrong once in a while.”
Indeed, it’s an especially big problem for publishers, which were lured onto Facebook with the promise of an easy way to reach a lot of people quickly. Once they parked onto the platform, however, they found that Facebook could exert far more control over their content than anyone expected.
“The problem The Vindicator faces is that it has become dependent, perhaps too dependent, on Facebook to communicate with local residents and to promote the newspaper,” the newspaper wrote in an editorial.
It goes beyond this one issue. Facebook can choose what people see and what they don’t. They can push publishers to pay up if they want to reach their own readers, hiding content when you don’t shell out the money.
And they even block your content completely if they don’t like what you have to say… even if it’s one of the nation’s founding documents.
— The Horn editorial team