Declaration of Independence, Facebook, Hate Speech, Idiocy and Incompetence, Our Corporate Overlords
[A] small newspaper, based out of Liberty, a Texas town of 75,000 outside of Houston, planned to post the Declaration of Independence on Facebook in 12 daily installments leading up to the Fourth of July â€” 242 years since the document was adopted at the Second Continental Congress in 1776.
But on the 10th day, the Vindicatorâ€™s latest installment was removed by Facebook. The company told the newspaper that the particular passage, which included the phrase â€œmerciless Indian Savages,â€ went against its â€œstandards on hate speech,â€ the newspaper wrote.
The story about how Facebook had censored one of the United Statesâ€™ founding texts on the grounds that it was hate speech has traveled around the world. And it is another glaring example of how the mechanisms that tech companies use to regulate user content â€” many of which involve algorithms and other automated processes â€” can result in embarrassing errors. Facebook uses a mix of human work and technological efforts to moderate its content.
Facebook has since apologized to the Vindicator and restored the newspaperâ€™s post.
â€œThe post was removed by mistake and restored as soon as we looked into it,â€ the company said in a statement distributed by spokeswoman Sarah Pollack. â€œWe process millions of reports each week, and sometimes we get things wrong.â€
Hilarious, of course. Just imagine the embarrassment in Menlo Park.
But, not really surprising, considering Silicon Valley’s aggressive Politically Correct Intolerance and its penchant for Diversity in hiring. Why should anyone expect a recent Comp Sci graduate originating from Dehli or Damascus or Guangzhou to recognize the text of the Declaration, or identify 18th Century English, by sight?
It seems to me that the inconsistency of the policy is also intellectually even more embarrassing. In the end, Thomas Jefferson (for now) gets a pass. You and I don’t, and outside Facebook, people of the same mentality are right now pulling down statues of formerly sacred heroes from Christopher Columbus to Robert E. Lee to William McKinley.