To be fair, the hate speech appears to have been detected and removed by a robot analyzer, but shouldn’t some human check content before they remove it? Facebook did, however, later allow the impure parts of the Declaration of Independence to be posted. From the BBC (click on screenshot):
Here’s the story (my emphasis):
In the run-up to Independence Day, a US community paper based in Texas had been posting small daily chunks of the historic document on its Facebook page.
At issue was a part of it that referred to “merciless Indian savages”.
Facebook later apologised and allowed the posting.
The Liberty County Vindicator had been sharing excerpts from America’s founding document to its Facebook page in an attempt to encourage historical literacy among its readers.
Part 10 did not appear, with the paper receiving a notice from Facebook saying the post went against its standards on hate speech.
[Vindicator] Editor Casey Stinnett wrote afterwards of the offending paragraph: “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.”
The newspaper later confirmed that Facebook had had a change of heart and apologised.
“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 apologise and let you know that we’ve restored your content and removed any blocks on your account related to this incorrect action.”
In a blogpost, assistant editor of political magazine Reason Christian Britschgi said the decision demonstrated the problem with automated searches for hate speech.
“A robot trained to spot politically incorrect language isn’t smart enough to detect when that language is part of a historically significant document,” he said.
For the Vindicator’s account of what happened, go here.
Yes, Facebook apologized and restored the document, but perhaps that wouldn’t have happened had the offending words not been part of an important historical document.The sad thing is that if this wasn’t part of the Declaration of Independence, but perhaps a quote from Laura Ingalls Wilder, Facebook might have continued the ban. After all, hate speech is hate speech, even if it reflects mores no longer held, and why should the Declaration of Independence be exempt? I can easily seeing that quote triggering people, as similar quotes did when they came from Little House on the Prairie.