Facebook apologized to the Liberty County Vindicator newspaper in Texas after the social media giant flagged a post of the text of the Declaration of Independence as hate speech. In the days before July 4, the newspaper posted parts of the Declaration on its Facebook page. Facebook sent a notice to the newspaper that a portion of the foundational document of the Republic was removed, reportedly because the document has a passage that refers to  “merciless Indian savages.”

On July 2, Editor Casey Stinnett of the Vindicator wrote on the newspaper’s website, "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." Stinnett wrote "Although, to be honest, there is a good deal in that passage that could be thought hateful."

Editor Stinnett later wrote that Facebook had restored the newspaper’s full post, while also acknowledging that it should not have been removed in the first place. "The Vindicator extends its thanks to Facebook. We never doubted Facebook would fix it, but neither did we doubt the usefulness of our fussing about it a little," Stinnett wrote.

Since last year, Facebook has faced growing criticism over its policies concerning hate speech, as well as the security of users' private information.


 

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Spero News editor Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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