With support from the University of Richmond

History News Network

History News Network puts current events into historical perspective. Subscribe to our newsletter for new perspectives on the ways history continues to resonate in the present. Explore our archive of thousands of original op-eds and curated stories from around the web. Join us to learn more about the past, now.

Declaration of Independence Flagged as Hate Speech by Facebook

Facebook was forced to apologize to a local publisher in Texas this week for removing a post containing text from the Declaration of Independence after classifying it as “hate speech.”

Casey Stinnett, managing editor of the Liberty County Vindicator, said that the social network had complained about an update featuring paragraphs 27-31 of the historic U.S. document. His outlet was posting bite-size sections in the lead up to the July 4 celebrations on Wednesday but received a notice from Facebook the day prior saying the words had violated its “standards on hate speech.”

In an article posted to the newspaper’s website describing the takedown, Stinnett said he suspected it was most likely the phrase “Indian Savages” that had triggered the deletion. “It is a very great irony that the words of Thomas Jefferson should now be censored in America,” he wrote, hypothesizing that it could have been a different case if the founder had instead used the term “Native Americans.”

Read entire article at Newsweek