The computer algorithm used by Facebook to monitor content flagged an Texas newspaper for hate speech – but the unacceptable material was a verbatim passage from the Declaration of Independence.
A portion deep in the document makes a reference to "Indian savages" – a clearly derogatory term about Native Americans.
The Liberty County Vindicator, however, was running ongoing posts of the complete Declaration of Independence – warts and all – as part of a series tied to Independence Day.
Facebook’s robots blocked the passage and alerted the Vindicator.
So Casey Stinnett, the paper’s managing editor, made a declaration of his own.
He sent in feedback to Facebook – then wrote about the incident.
Facebook relented and apologized – and Thomas Jefferson’s words were again permitted to appear in full on the world’s largest social media network.
Stinnett tells Newsradio 740 KTRH he accepts the apology – but says the incident shows why people, not algorithms, are needed in the fair and accurate dissemination of information.