A Texas-based newspaper attempting to celebrate the 4th of July unwittingly triggered Facebook’s hate speech algorithms.
The Register reports that The Liberty County Vindicator has posted snippets of the United States Declaration of Independence in the run-up to the national holiday. However, paragraphs 27-31 did not appear on its page once posted.
Instead, the outlet received notification from Facebook that the content “goes against our standards on hate speech”.
These sections included the following text:
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 complete 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.
Despite the fact that in the context of 2018 some of that could very much be regarded as shaky ground, Facebook did later restore the posts and concede that it had blundered, adding: “It looks like we made a mistake and removed something you posted on Facebook that didn’t go against our Community Standards.”