Facebook apologizes to Texas newspaper for part of Declaration of Independence being labeled hate speech

Facebook apologizes to Texas newspaper for part of Declaration of Independence being labeled hate speech
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Facebook apologized to a Texas newspaper after it initially flagged a post of the text of the Declaration of Independence as hate speech.

The Liberty County Vindicator in Texas posted excerpts from the document on its Facebook page in the days leading up to the Fourth of July holiday.

The newspaper received a notice that one portion of the document was removed, likely because of a passage that refers to “merciless Indian savages.”

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"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," Vindicator editor Casey Stinnett wrote on the paper's website.

"Although, to be honest, there is a good deal in that passage that could be thought hateful," he added.

Stinnett later wrote that Facebook had restored the full post and acknowledged it should not have removed it 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.

Facebook has weathered a number of controversies in recent months involving the security of users' private information, as well as its policies toward hoax stories and hate speech.