Skip to comments.Facebook Algorithm Flags, Removes Declaration of Independence Text as Hate Speech
Posted on 07/03/2018 2:53:50 PM PDT by babyfreep
America's founding document might be too politically incorrect for Facebook, which flagged and removed a post consisting almost entirely of text from the Declaration of Independence. The excerpt, posted by a small community newspaper in Texas, apparently violated the social media site's policies against hate speech.
Since June 24, the Liberty County Vindicator of Liberty County, Texas, has been sharing daily excerpts from the declaration in the run up to July Fourth. The idea was to encourage historical literacy among the Vindicator's readers.
The first nine such posts of the project went up without incident.
"But part 10," writes Vindicator managing editor Casey Stinnett, "did not appear. Instead, The Vindicator received a notice from Facebook saying that the post 'goes against our standards on hate speech.'"
The post in question contained paragraphs 27 through 31 of the Declaration of Independence, the grievance section of the document wherein the put-upon colonists detail all the irreconcilable differences they have with King George III.
Stinnett says that he cannot be sure which exact grievance ran afoul of Facebook's policy, but he assumes that it's paragraph 31, which excoriates the King for inciting "domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages."
The removal of the post was an automated action, and Stinnett sent a "feedback message" to Facebook with the hopes of reaching a human being who could then exempt the Declaration of Independence from its hate speech restrictions.
Fearful that sharing more of the text might trigger the deletion of its Facebook page, The Vindicator has suspended its serialization of the declaration.
In his article, Stinnett is remarkably sanguine about this censorship. While unhappy about the decision, he reminds readers "that Facebook is a business corporation, not the government, and as such it is allowed to restrict use of its services as long as those restrictions do not violate any laws. Plus, The Vindicator is using Facebook for free, so the newspaper has little grounds for complaint other than the silliness of it."
Of course, Facebook's actions here are silly. They demonstrate a problem with automated enforcement of hate speech policies, which is that a robot trained to spot politically incorrect language isn't smart enough to detect when that language is part of a historically significant document.
None of this is meant as a defense of referring to Native Americans as "savages." That phrasing is clearly racist and serves as another example of the American Revolution's mixed legacy; one that won crucial liberties for a certain segment of the population, while continuing to deny those same liberties to Native Americans and African slaves. But by allowing the less controversial parts of the declaration to be shared while deleting the reference to "Indian savages," Facebook succeeds only in whitewashing America's founding just as we get ready to celebrate it.
A more thoughtful approach to Independence Dayfor both celebrants and social media companies alikewould be to grapple with those historical demons.
Of course it does.../rolleyes
It was no ‘mistake’......................
Just stop using Facebook.
Theres no need to use it - call your friends - text then - setup gathering nights.
Yup - exactly - I don’t know why conservatives use facebook.
Posting the constitution could get you banned for life! It explains that people’s rights are not given by any government. That most of the constitution is about severely limiting what the government may do and what over....... .
The bot would have issue with those two words in proximity.
Pussies. Post it. Post it in LARGE FONT. Dare the anti-American crap weasels at Fake Book to delete your page.
I agree. However some need that place to go...
There is https://mewe.com which is anti-Facebook, and does not keep or sell any info of anyone. You own your content. It has 2 million users and climbing. No ads, no selling of info. For those who must have something.
I stopped two years ago. Silly thing to be doing in a society where the right to privacy is central.
I hear the suggestion to jettison FB many times...
But, as a political activist, one of the prime aspects of any campaign or cause (like my local RTC, national/state COS) is to have a FB presence.
It’s like we can’t live with FB, nor can we live without it.
I suspect it is on it’s way out since it is now saturated with SJW.
They absolutely do destroy everything they touch these days, the proglibs at fakebood shouldn’t be any different.
I think I might try that. I’ll grab some lines from the Constitution, too.
I remember seeing that movie “Dazed and Confused” several years ago and there was a scene when the kids were getting let out of class on their last day of school (’76 grads...that’s me - I could def relate).
She says “OK, guys, one more thing. Hey, this summer when you’re being inundated with all this bi-centennial, fourth of July, broo-ha-ha just remember what you’re celebrating. That’s the fact that a bunch of slave-owning aristocratic white males didn’t want to pay their taxes.”
I know it’s just a movie - but I also believe it’s being taught. (Although, I didn’t hear it like that in my small-town 1976 graduating class.)
Doubt FB has a problem with leftist hate speech.
The description of the Hypocritical and Delusional Lying Left: You take the Right and take away reason and accountability.
But PC to call white conservative Americans every insult known to exist. As in calling Ivanka Trump a ... (fill in with any swear word or insult - it has been done on facebook by libs without censure).
“I stopped two years ago. Silly thing to be doing in a society where the right to privacy is central.”
Killed my account 1-1/2 years ago. Such a time suck.
Got better things to do.
I am on Facebook and this just isn’t accurate.
The American Indians, at that time, were, in fact, merciless savages...They fought very much like the Japs did in China during the 1930's...
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