On July 4, the day commemorating the founding of the United States of America, people from far and wide post on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook inspirational messages about what Independence Day means to them, and pictures and videos of fireworks and barbecues sometimes detailed with quotes from America’s founding document. However, it seems that the Declaration of Independence is a bit too contentious and confrontational for the social media giant as Facebook algorithms decided that parts of the document was actually hate speech.
In a report from the Washington Times, Texas-based community news publication Liberty County Vindicator was posting the entirety of the Declaration of Independence in small excepts for nine days up until July 4. Their publishing was stopped on Monday as the newspaper received a notice from Facebook saying that the post, “goes against our standards on hate speech.”
Managing Editor of the paper Casey Stinnett told reporters the message entailed that the Vindicator could lose its Facebook account if there were further violations. Contained within the blocked post detailed the “Bill of Particulars” written against Britain’s King George III. The passage in the declaration revealed the British crown’s “repeated injuries and usurpations” of the rights and liberties held by Americans in the late 18th century.
The passage marked hate speech is as follows:
“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.”
Quite sardonically, Stinnett replied to the rejection with, “Perhaps had Thomas Jefferson written it as ‘Native Americans at a challenging stage of cultural development’ that would have been better. Unfortunately, Jefferson, like most British colonists of his day, did not hold an entirely friendly view of Native Americans.”
Approximately one day went by before Facebook apologized for blocking the post, thus allowing it to be seen on the platform.
The Vindicator reported that Facebook wrote back saying, “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.”
Although the move from Facebook algorithms is rather brainless (pun intended), it reveals the logic behind “big tech” attempting to police millions upon millions of messages per day, even per hour, which cannot be completed by actual humans sitting in office chairs behind desks. Unfortunately, computer equations that are automated to detect politically incorrect language cannot surmise the subject of the language if it is contained within a historically significant document or has historical context important to its composition.
Considering the first nine excepts from the Vindicator were accepted by Facebook, but the tenth, which included fairly controversial parts of the declaration in reference to “Indian savages,” was blocked, it shows that what Facebook is actually doing is wiping clean the facts of the age when the document was written. Such an instance does not allow for the real discussions to take place surrounding the founding of America.
Some may call this “whitewashing,” some may call this rewriting history, but what it really is is being overly sensitive. If anything is to change in the heavy atmosphere of political correctness or incorrectness, the base facts must be presented. America was not founded on a sentiment of anemic hypersensitivity, but the truth that something had to change.
According to the Declaration of Independence, “When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”
Such an event cannot be understood while viewed through the rose-colored glasses of modern hypersensitivity.