Long Live the King

A Facebook algorithm categorized parts of the Declaration of Independence as hate speech and took down excerpts of it ahead of the Fourth of July, 2018.

The Liberty County Vindicator, a community newspaper in Texas, posted the Declaration in 12 parts on its Facebook page leading up the nation’s birthday. Facebook sent a notice that one of those parts “goes against our standards on hate speech.”

After the Declaration’s famous opening lines about all men being created equal and having an inalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, it goes on to list 27 specific grievances against King George III of England. The last of those reads: “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.”

The paper suspected that this quote is the reason Facebook blocked the post, although the social media company did not cite a specific reason.

“It is a very great irony that the words of Thomas Jefferson should now be censored in America,” editor Casey Stinnett wrote on the Vindicator website.

from CBSNews.com