A tech giant has flagged text from America’s most important founding document because it is not “politically correct” enough in 2018.
“Somewhere in paragraphs 27-31 of the Declaration of Independence Thomas Jefferson wrote something that Facebook finds offensive,” wrote Vindicator managing editor Casey Stinnett. “The first nine parts posted as scheduled, but part 10, consisting of paragraphs 27-31 of the Declaration, did not appear. Instead, The Vindicator received a notice from Facebook saying that the post ‘goes against our standards on hate speech.'”
The publication was posting a daily Declaration of Independence series on Facebook leading up July 4.
The text that offended Facebook’s censors follows:
“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.”
In the spirit of true totalitarianism, Facebook did not tell the Vindicator what the offending passage was, but Stinnett suspects it was “Indian Savages.”
The censorship is not inconsequential. Facebook has implemented what amounts to a “strike” system. If a user breaks the rules too many times, his page can be taken offline.
“So, the removal of this morning’s post puts The Vindicator in a quandary about whether to continue with posting the final two parts of the Declaration scheduled for tomorrow and Wednesday,” wrote Stinnett. “Should Facebook find anything in them offensive, The Vindicator could lose its Facebook page.”
The managing editor remained in good spirits, though.
“This is frustrating, but your editor is a historian, and to enjoy the study of history a person must love irony. It is a very great irony that the words of Thomas Jefferson should now be censored in America.”
An update from Stinnett from the evening of July 3 says that Facebook reached out to Stinnett to tell him that they made a mistake, and that the tech giant restored the post.
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