Awful: Facebook Actually Censored the Declaration of Independence

Social media giant has apologized to a news outlet in Liberty, Texas, for flagging excerpts from our nation's founding documents

The Declaration of Independence was considered too incendiary for Facebook’s “hate speech” guidelines recently.

The social media giant apologized to The Vindicator, a Texas news publication founded in 1887, for censoring excerpts from our nation’s founding document.

The Vindicator had been posting segments of the Declaration of Independence leading up to the July 4 holiday.

That’s when its 10th excerpt was removed, as a report in Reason noted.

The following section from the Declaration of Independence was considered too controversial for Facebook’s guidelines:

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 compleat 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.

Casey Stinnett, managing editor of The Vindicator, provided his view of what had happened.

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“[On] July 3, the good folks at Facebook restored the post that is the subject of this article,” Stinnett said in a statement.

“An email from Facebook came in a little after The Vindicator’s office closed today and says the following: ‘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,'” the statement continued.

Stinnett said he believes one passage in particular, and potentially the phrasing of two words — “Indian Savages” — tripped Facebook’s “hate speech” detector.

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“While The Vindicator cannot be certain exactly what triggered Facebook’s filtering program, the editor suspects it was most likely the phrase ‘Indian Savages,'” Stinnett wrote.

“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 editor continued.

“It is a very great irony that the words of Thomas Jefferson should now be censored in America.”

Certainly, the Founding Fathers hated oppressive British measures against the colonialists, including taxation without representation.

After personally fighting in The French and Indian War, as General George Washington did — ironically, his only surrender as general came during this war on July 4, 1754 — a few colonists may have had a bit of bad blood.

Stinnett was not oblivious to the irony. “This is frustrating, but your editor is a historian, and to enjoy the study of history a person must love irony,” he wrote. “It is a very great irony that the words of Thomas Jefferson should now be censored in America.”

Kyle Becker is a content writer and producer with LifeZette. Follow him on Twitter

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Kyle Becker is a content writer and producer with LifeZette.

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