The Patriot Post® · Facebook Blocks Declaration of Independence as 'Hate Speech'
In its ongoing attempts to crack down on “fake news,” Facebook has only proved what many conservatives have repeatedly warned: It’s catering to leftist bias in order to limit conservative content. Some recent incidents expose this reality.
In a buildup to our nation’s annual celebration of Independence Day, a community newspaper, The Liberty County Vindicator, had been posting on Facebook portions of the Declaration of Independence for eight straight days. On the ninth day, the Vindicator’s scheduled excerpt was not posted by the social media site because it had been flagged as “racist” “hate speech.” The Vindicator received an automated notice stating that the scheduled post “goes against our standards on hate speech.”
The excerpt in question from the Declaration’s “Bill of Particulars” against King George III reads, “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.” It was Thomas Jefferson’s reference to “Indian Savages” that triggered the “hate speech” designation.
Casey Stinnett, the Vindicator’s managing editor, responded to the absurd censorship in a subsequent post and noted that his newspaper wanted “a means of contacting Facebook for an explanation or an opportunity to appeal the post’s removal, but it does not appear the folks at Facebook want anyone contacting them. Or, at least, they do not make it easy.” Fortunately, following his post, Facebook apologized to the Vindicator and posted the Declaration’s excerpt.
But Facebook’s facepalm-worthy behavior on patriotism didn’t end with the Vindicator fiasco. On Monday, the Wes Cook band released a video for its song “I Stand for the Flag.” The band planned to use Facebook’s paid promotion tools to promote its video, which was initially accepted by Facebook only to later be rejected with the excuse given that the video was “political content.” But late Tuesday, Facebook changed its decision again, stating, “We recently announced anyone running ads about political or other major national issues must include a ‘paid for’ label. After looking again, we determined that this ad doesn’t need that label. While this is a new policy, and while we won’t ever be perfect, we think knowing who is behind an ad is important, and we’ll continue to work on improving as we roll it out.” Another “oops” statement from Facebook that once again smacks of leftist bias.
Finally, PJ Media’s Paula Bolyard relays her recent experience of having a piece designated as “fake news” by Facebook’s “fact-checkers.” Bolyard notes a particular problem with Facebook’s self-promoted commitment to fighting “fake news.” Not only has Facebook tabbed leftist groups to “fact-check” content, it has sought to isolate itself from any direct responsibility by taking a hands-off approach to flagged content:
First, that content’s distribution is reduced. It will appear lower in News Feed, and will be accompanied by Related Articles from fact-checkers. If people try to share the content, they will be notified of the additional reporting. They will also be notified if content they have shared in the past has since been rated by a fact-checker.
Second, in order to more effectively fight false news, we also take action against Pages that share, and domains that publish, content which is rated “False.” Such Pages and domains will see their distribution reduced as the number of offenses increases. Their ability to monetize and advertise will be removed after repeated offenses. Over time, Pages and domains can restore their distribution and ability to monetize and advertise if they stop sharing false news.
Publishers who issue a correction or dispute a rating may contact the fact-checker. If their correction or dispute is successful, the strike against them will be eliminated. Note that simply deleting a post or removing a URL is not sufficient to eliminate the strike against the domain or Page.
In short, if one’s post is flagged, one can’t appeal directly to Facebook but rather to the very “fact-checkers” whose biased assessment resulted in censoring the content in the first place. It’s the foxes guarding the hen house, and that’s exactly the way Facebook wants it. That’s because it’s a means for Mark Zuckerberg and company to indirectly limit conservative content on Facebook while avoiding having to answer for it.