Accuracy in Media

Facebook’s algorithm’s experienced another misstep this week when it removed a post featuring a portion of the Declaration of Independence that it deemed constituted hate speech.

In an effort to challenge its readers to read the document to prepare for Independence Day, The Liberty County Victor posted bite-size chunks on its Facebook page.  All was going well until post number 10 was removed.

What alerted the Facebook algorithm were the words “merciless Indian savages”.

Victor editor Casey Stinnett said 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.”

After the story went viral Facebook apologized and restored the post.

“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 apologize and let you know that we’ve restored your content and removed any blocks on your account related to this incorrect action.”

Facebook also issued a statement about the incident saying: “The post was removed by mistake and restored as soon as we looked into it. We process millions of reports each week, and sometimes we get things wrong.”

The Victor has taken advantage of the extra publicity by highlighting the story on its Facebook page and website.

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