Friday, 23 August, 2019

Facebook Sorry for Labeling Declaration of Independence Hate Speech

Declaration Of Independence Facebook Sorry for Labeling Declaration of Independence Hate Speech
Patty Aguilar | 06 July, 2018, 02:35

A newspaper serially publishing the Declaration of Independence on social media this week got an unexpected surprise: Facebook had blocked one of the posts. "Facebook and Twitter and Apple are all trying to figure out how to weed out fake news during this upcoming election cycle and I don't know how you do that necessarily because who deems what's fake and what isn't".

The issue came to light when a local paper in Texas began posting excerpts of the historic text on its Facebook page each day in the run up to the country's Independence Day celebrations on July 4. He noted that the post's removal was automated, and gave Facebook the benefit of the doubt that "if any human being working at Facebook were to review it, no doubt the post would be allowed". The tenth post in this series, with paragraphs 27-31, was removed from the paper's Facebook scheduling queue, with the paper being given the notice that it'd violated the hate speech standards.

While it is unclear what key words triggered Facebook's filter, the editor for the paper says it was likely "Indian Savages".

"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 passage reads. "Unfortunately, Jefferson, like most British colonists of his day, did not hold an entirely friendly view of Native Americans", the newspaper's editor, Casey Stinnett, wrote on Monday. "Instead, The Vindicator received a notice from Facebook saying that the post "goes against our standards on hate speech".

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The action confirmed the inability of the Facebook processes to tell the difference between "white nationalist ravings" and the "writing of Thomas Jefferson", the report said.

Stinnett later wrote that Facebook had restored the full post and acknowledged it should not have removed it in the first place.

"The post was removed by mistake and restored as soon as we looked into it".

But Stinnett also acknowledges how entrenched Facebook has become in many publication's businesses: "The problem The Vindicator faces is that it has become dependent, perhaps too dependent, on Facebook to communicate with local residents and to promote the newspaper".

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