back to article US Declaration of Independence labeled hate speech by Facebook bots

Facebook’s content-cleansing bots have flagged the United States Declaration of Independence as hate speech. The Liberty County Vindicator, a newspaper serving Liberty, Texas, posted “small bites” from the Declaration on its Facebook page in the leadup to the USA’s Fourth of July Independence Day, “to make it a little easier …

  1. Keef

    This could be solved by...

    Everybody not using social media.

    A dream I know but I'm fed up of twitter/FB et al being used as contact points by companies.

    If that's the only way for me to interact with them then I won't, and they won't get my custom.

    BTW the The Liberty County Vindicator website tells me this when I visit from my ISP in the UK

    'We recognise you are attempting to access this website from a country belonging to the European Economic Area (EEA) including the EU which enforces the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and therefore cannot grant you access at this time.'

    But again this easily bypassed. and having done so I wish hadn't, it is a dreadful mess of a website.

    1. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: This could be solved by...

      Keef suggested "...not using social media...", on El Reg's world famous comment forums (which, amusingly, are social media). ;-)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: This could be solved by...

        Yes, they are social media but most of the population regard the likes of FaceBook, Twitter, WhatsApp etc as social media. Website forums are not like them IMHO.

        I'm not on any of the FB etc sites and never have been and never will be. Never felt the need to sign my life away. any post on there pretending to be me (and I know there are some) are totally fake. The Irony is that to get them taken down, the site demands that I sign up to them and prove that I am the real me (can you see the real me, can you!) before they will take them down.

        1. fandom

          Re: This could be solved by...

          "any post on there pretending to be me (and I know there are some) are totally fake"

          Says someone posting as AC

      2. Teiwaz Silver badge

        Re: This could be solved by...

        El Reg's world famous comment forums (which, amusingly, are social media

        If you actually read the posts, you'll most likely find most of them come under antisocial media though.

      3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: This could be solved by...

        "El Reg's world famous comment forums (which, amusingly, are social media)"

        We are determinedly, and sometimes amusingly, anti-social here.

        1. onefang Silver badge

          Re: This could be solved by...

          "We are determinedly, and sometimes amusingly, anti-social here."

          But at least we are socially anti-social, if we where unsocial, we would not be talking past one another like we do, we would simply not be talking.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: This could be solved by...

        El Reg's forums are not social media. They are forums.

        About the only thing they have in common is an upvote button. (The forums, unlike social media, also have a downvote button.) You don't get a news feed. You don't get 'things you might like'. You don't get instant messaging. You don't get targeted ads. You DO get moderation; El Reg, unlike social media, is aware that it owns its own webspace and is responsible for what is posted on it, and acts accordingly, rather than doing what social media does i.e. pretending that it's 'the public internet' and not bothering to act until governments try to make them.

        (Incidentally El Reg doesn't always get it right. Lewis had my original account suspended when I called him out one too many times on his global warming denial articles. Can I have it back now please?)

        1. Tom Paine Silver badge

          Re: This could be solved by...

          You don't get targeted ads.

          Er... yes, yes you do, unless you're using an ad-blocker or other anti-tracking technology.

          Agree a forum / commantard playpen isn't "social media' though

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: This could be solved by...

            Er... yes, yes you do, unless you're using an ad-blocker or other anti-tracking technology.

            I stand corrected. The ads are indeed targeted.

            (I had to disable nine Firefox plug-ins to verify that; that's how fit for purpose the unfiltered internet is these days.)

          2. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
            Coat

            Re: This could be solved by...

            You don't get targeted ads.

            Yes we do. Articles promoting DevOps conferences

    2. arctic_haze Silver badge

      Re: This could be solved by...

      ...rejoining the United Kingdom!

  2. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge
    Joke

    Well I suppose it is hate speech if you're George III

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      It is rabble rousing hate speech by any definition other than "we won"

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "...if you're George III"

      What do you mean, "if"?

      George R.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "...if you're George III"

        Rank Populism!

        In the age of Democracy, this shouldn't stand.

    3. Kane Silver badge
      Joke

      "Well I suppose it is hate speech if you're George III"

      Wait, it's a sequel? What happened to the first two parts??

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        "What happened to the first two parts?"

        They died. After George IV it was considered wise to wait nearly a century before the next instalment.

      2. Bill Gray

        Re: George III

        @Kane : you laugh, but...

        Some years back, there was a play titled "The Madness of George III". When a movie was made based on it, the title was changed to "The Madness of King George". It was felt that had the III been kept, some American moviegoers might think they'd missed episodes I and II.

        1. Francis Boyle Silver badge

          Are you sure

          it wasn't to stop Americans thinking it was a sci-fi/action film about the third in a series of androids that runs amuck because it realises that George is a really silly name for an android.

        2. AdamWill

          Re: George III

          "@Kane : you laugh, but..."

          You realized you just painfully explained exactly the thing Kane was joking about, and giving his audience enough credit to *understand* that he was joking about it, right?

    4. jmch Silver badge
      Flame

      It's certainly hate speech if you're Native American.

      "the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions."

      It's not just the term "Indian Savages", it's the careless and factually incorrect slander of an entire "other" people. If there was one people in North America whose warfare was characterised by "an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions", that was the USA-ians, not the Native Americans. Cholera blankets, anyone?

      1. disgruntled yank Silver badge

        Cholera?

        Given that cholera tends to be spread by water, I think that you must be mis-remembering blankets thought or hoped to transmit smallpox. As for those, the earliest advocate of their use, that I can remember, was Lord Jeffery Amherst, then Governor-General of British North America. (See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeffery_Amherst,_1st_Baron_Amherst#Biological_warfare_involving_smallpox).

        Contrary to what you might suppose from Hollywood movies about WW II, the USA-ins do occasionally wish to give credit where credit is due.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        USA-ians

        At the time the declaration was written, pretty much everyone involved was British - and yes, they do have a bloody, racist history and a propensity to exterminate the natives.

  3. Rebel Science

    Book burning Nazis

    What Mark Zuckerberg and the other evil masters of social networks are doing is no different than what the Nazis did. It's just book burning by another name.

    1. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      Re: Book burning Nazis

      Foundational documents of the US include the Declaration of Independence, Articles of Confederation, Common Sense by Thomas Paine, The Constitution, and the Federalist Papers. I wonder how many of these documents would be flagged as hate speech because some them refer to taking up arms against George III or slavery. The problem is the Fraudbook, et. al. can try to hide behind a bot which can not determine context or probably does not check if a post is from a historical document.

      1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

        Re: Book burning Nazis

        I wonder how many of these documents

        What you see are basic limitations of ML. ML based systems have idiot level of intelligence (at best) and are not likely to raise above that any time soon.

        Try The Sermon on the Mount next. It will be misidentified as communist propaganda by nearly any ML system trained to identify one.

        1. deadlockvictim Silver badge

          The Sermon on the Mount

          Reg» Blessed is just about everybody with an interest in the status quo.

          Judith» Yes, yes, I see, Reg.

          Reg» What Jesus fails to appreciate is that it's the meek who are the problem.

          1. Nick Kew Silver badge

            Re: The Sermon on the Mount

            Never mind the Sermon on the Mount. The Bible contains more hatred and hate speech than you've probably encountered anywhere else in life.

            Dixit Dominus? This is a God who not merely perpetrates unimaginable horrors, but revels in ever-more-horrific weapons of His genocide.

            Elijah? The absolutist Man of God who brings destruction on the godless, brings down the wrath of the powerful on himself, perpetrates massacres and genocide, flees into the mountains, and is eventually elevated to heaven in a euphemistically-violent death. The perfect role model for Bin Laden (or perhaps for what Bin Laden might have been if the 9/11 planes had set off nukes).

            St Paul? The classic psychopath who founded a Church in the name of a prophet who had conveniently been dead for a generation.

            Samson? The hero who falls from grace but redeems himself in a final glorious act of suicide bombing?

            Blessed is he that taketh the Children of the Heathen, and casts them upon the stone.

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: The Sermon on the Mount

              He who has the gold makes the rules.

              Organized religion is the root of all evil.

              1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

                Re: Organized religion is the root of all evil

                I beg to differ. But I as cannot possibly say it better than Patton Oswalt, I will refer you to his take on Sky Cake.

                1. Francis Boyle Silver badge

                  Re: Organized religion is the root of all evil

                  I beg to differ. But I as cannot possibly say it better than Patton Oswalt, I will refer you to his take on Sky Cake.

                  Patton Oswalt is wrong. The reason psychopaths don't get to do what they want is not because someone invented religion to fool them, but because most people are not psychopaths1. Indeed, given that "leaders" tend to be psychopaths, you could argue that every religion is creation by started by a psychopaths because it takes someone with an interest in controlling others to take an idea and turn it into an organisation.

                  1. Altruism and a sense of community came first2 or there wouldn't have been anybody to invent religion.

                  2. On second thought, don't ask a chimp. It'll probably try to rip your arm off. Ask a bonobo. It'll try to have sex with you but that's just it's way of saying hello.

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Organized religion is the root of all evil.

                Stalin's Russia.

                Hitler's Germany.

                Mao Tse Tung's China.

                1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

                  Re: Organized religion is the root of all evil.

                  If that was supposed be examples of non-religious evil, it's worth bearing in mind that on WWII German soldiers uniform belt buckles was ‘Gott mit uns’, which translates to ‘God is with us’.

                2. cornetman Bronze badge

                  Re: Organized religion is the root of all evil.

                  Religion = Hero Worship + Dogma + Holy Book

                  > Stalin's Russia.

                  Stalin + Marxism + "Marxism and the National Question" = Religion. Check

                  > Hitler's Germany.

                  Hitler + Aryanism + "Mein Kampf" = Religion. Check

                  > Mao Tse Tung's China.

                  Mao Tse Tung + Maoism + "Little Red Book" = Religion. Check

                  If it looks like a religion, walks like a religion, and quacks like a religion, then it IS a religion.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: Organized religion is the root of all evil.

                    @cornetman Ahh. So you had to construct your own little addlepated definition of religion to support your addlepated argument?

              3. onefang Silver badge

                Re: The Sermon on the Mount

                "Organized religion is the root of all evil."

                And evil is the root of all money.

            2. SundogUK

              Re: The Sermon on the Mount

              You haven't read the Koran then.

            3. Arthur the cat Silver badge
              Trollface

              Re: The Sermon on the Mount

              Never mind the Sermon on the Mount. The Bible contains more hatred and hate speech than you've probably encountered anywhere else in life.

              True, but it was very accepting of the non-neurotypical. These days if you hear voices in your head telling you to kill your first born child and start to act on them you're more than likely to be sectioned and your children taken into care. Back in biblical times you became patriarch of three world religions instead.

        2. stephanh

          Re: Book burning Nazis

          "Try The Sermon on the Mount next. It will be *correctly identified* as communist propaganda by nearly any ML system trained to identify one."

          FTFY

          Although Luke's version (Sermon of the Plain) is even more left-wing. ("Blessed are the poor.")

          1. horse of a different color

            Re: Book burning Nazis

            "Try The Sermon on the Mount next. It will be *correctly identified* as communist propaganda by nearly any ML system trained to identify one."

            I think you can only say that if a) you don't know anything about communism and/or b) you don't know anything about the Sermon on the Mount.

            1. Spanners Silver badge
              Big Brother

              Re: Book burning Nazis

              The fact that the Sermon on the mount can be identified by human beings as left of centre ideology merely shows that this should be the default mindset for Christians,

              The early book of Acts describes a working commune. This is left wing propaganda..

              I suspect that if you feed any "holy book", historical document or literature worth reading into an analysys system, it will bump up against some criteria. It may be politically iffy, racist, sexist, violent or just plain nasty. That is where we should be ahead of computers (for now anyway). The computer flags stuff up and human beings mark it as OK, if it really is.

            2. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
              Childcatcher

              Re: Book burning Nazis

              I think you can only say that if a) you don't know anything about communism and/or b) you don't know anything about the Sermon on the Mount.

              Passing familiarity with Anabaptist thinking (e.g. Bruderhof communities) would indicate there are others who would disagree with you on this point.

          2. P. Lee Silver badge

            Re: Book burning Nazis

            >"Try The Sermon on the Mount next. It will be *correctly identified* as communist propaganda by nearly any ML system trained to identify one."

            I visited Moscow in 1981 and went to a Christian church there. The whole service was recorded by the State for monitoring. (Oh, hello Facebook, Siri, Google...) because there were restrictions on free speech and what could be said in the sermon. Afterwards, church leaders suddenly surrounded us and wouldn't let anyone near us. The "secret" police (they were pretty obvious in following us around while we were there) had arrived and anyone seen talking to us would be visited that evening. The leaders were used to it, but they didn't want random congregation members to have to go through that process.

            I'm generally not a fan of argument by "lived experience" so I'll also recommend people who think Christianity is close to socialism, national socialism, or nationalism read some history and literature.

            I noted the story above because one of the problems with centralised systems is that they prove irresistible to those wishing to to play with the levers of power. I have to disagree with El Reg. The problem is not that Facebook has some way to go in fine-tuning its hate-speech take-down algorithms. The problem is much bigger and illustrates fundamental flaws at many levels:

            Hate-speech is subjective and ill-defined. How could you imagine that you could code an algorithm for a task when you have no idea what the data looks like or quantify the results if the results are feelings?

            Even if we could define hate-speech, we would need algorithms which could understand human language (or in a multi-national context, multiple languages). Star Trek isn't real, so that isn't a thing we have the technical capability of doing. Pretending we can do it, like all lies, will have a bad outcome.

            Why do we allow Facebook (and the other tech giants) to have the ability to take down business? There seems to be far too much willingness to allow this to continue. If the content is so bad, why doesn't FB just automatically remove it, rather than putting the onus back on the content owner, and then taking down all of their content if they don't comply? This seems like FB trying to manipulate content producers rather than FB's professed motives of "protecting the targets of hate-speech."

            I'm somewhat disappointed that El Reg has joined the ranks of think stuff on a computer screen causes riots in India, Sri Lanka or anywhere else. It does not. We should not be complicit in pressuring social media to accept responsibility for this stuff. After I read something on a computer screen, no matter what it is, I have a choice about whether or not I go out and burn a random car, or loot a shop. No-one forces me to go out and do that, in fact force is applied in the opposite direction. What makes me choose a path of action is my value system. That is what needs examination.

            That brings me to my final point: We need to talk about values. This also applies to "religion." At its basic functional level, religion is what you hold to be the highest good which drives your behaviour. It could be the Bible, Koran, Das Kapital, Mein Kampf, or the writings of Voltaire, Germaine Greer, Plato, Hitchens or Dawkins. The ideas contained in these writings are mutually exclusive and trying to pretend they are all the same is ignorance of the data. The books are just the recorded speech communicating ideas. We need to stop saying "religion" (someone-else's belief) is bad in order to shut down the debate. We need to be precise and identify the (religious/driving) belief which is causing the bad behaviour. If you think Christianity is bad, identify the value it promotes which you disagree with. Which one of Jesus' assertions on the sermon on the mount do you think is evil and why? What Islamic or Buddhist ideas do you disagree with? If we are to be able to co-exist with people we disagree with, we need to ensure that our understanding of them is correct and we need to be able to identify concrete issues about which we can argue merits. Assertions that "you value system is rubbish" cannot convince the holder of that value system of where they might be wrong because it is so vague there is no logic which can be applied and both sides are likely to try to fall back on coercion as the behaviour modifier. That is not a good outcome. As the world shrinks, culture and beliefs need to be up for debate. If we are unable or unwilling to identify good things and bad things, how can we improve the world?

        3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Book burning Nazis

          "What you see are basic limitations of ML. ML based systems have idiot level of intelligence (at best) and are not likely to raise above that any time soon."

          And solid proof if any is needed that the EU MEPs did the right thing in rejecting the new copyright law as proposed. Article 13 is a disaster waiting to happen and AI can't implement it.

        4. jmch Silver badge

          Re: Book burning Nazis

          "Try The Sermon on the Mount next. It will be misidentified as communist propaganda by nearly any ML system trained to identify one."

          erm... the sermon on the mount IS communist* propaganda

          *from the original communism ie living together in an egalitarian community, not soviet-style "some animals are more equal than others" communism

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Book burning Nazis

        "because some them refer to taking up arms against George III or slavery."

        FOR slavery, you mean? Because last time I checked, the UK abolished it long before the US did.

        IMO, what this shows is that there's a certain lack of critical reading of foundational documents. It really should be possible to see them as having been overall good, without asserting they were perfect and beyond criticism. Facebook's takedown may be wrong, that doesn't make right the description of "Indian Savages", nor what happened to them based on that thinking.

        1. SundogUK

          Re: Book burning Nazis

          Criticizing these documents based on modern, communist theories of history is bullshit.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Book burning Nazis

          "Slavery on English soil was unsupported in English law and that position was confirmed in Somersett's Case in 1772, but it remained legal in most of the British Empire until the Slavery Abolition Act in 1833"

          So, in the history of the world, 31 years is " long before the U.S."? I think not.

      3. DropBear Silver badge

        Re: Book burning Nazis

        "check if a post is from a historical document"

        That would be actually even worse, leading to the situation where mindlessly parroting sacrosanct quotes being protected but discussing them and the general ideas involved in your own words would be verboten. Don't worry though, we're getting there. Maybe with web 3.0 or 4.0...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Book burning Nazis

      And ISIS and the Taliban

      Etc., etc.

    3. Nick Kew Silver badge

      Re: Book burning Nazis

      They're being told to censor by governments, regulators, and pressure groups. Facebook-in-trouble stories usually stem from their failure to censor something - though in the last few months (post Cambridge Analytica) data protection has risen up the Agenda too.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Book burning Nazis

        But Facebook et ali can't censor ... all the information they pull is still available online. Even the complete, unabridged Declaration of Independence during the time that "The Liberty County Vindicator"[0] wasn't allowed to post bits of it.

        Wasn't allowed to post bits of it on Facebook, that is. Strangely, they weren't allowed to post bits of it on my WWW site, either, but nobody's screaming at me about censorship. Nor were they allowed to post bits of it on the pages of the New York Times, but I don't hear anybody bitching about that. I rather suspect that they would have no trouble posting those bits on thevindicator.com any time they felt like it.

        Freedom of the Press only applies if you own the press.

        [0] One wonders what they are vindicating, and why ... and if their mothers know.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Book burning Nazis

          "Strangely, they weren't allowed to post bits of it on my WWW site, either, but nobody's screaming at me about censorship."

          What a strange example. Did they try to post it on your site and get it rejected?

    4. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: Book burning Nazis

      "It's just book burning by another name"

      But without the burning.

      Or the books.

      It's more like posting flyers on the side of a noticeboard, and the person who owns the noticeboard randomly taking some of them down. Remember, if you're not paying for the product then (all together now!) you are the product.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Book burning Nazis

      What Mark Zuckerberg and the other evil masters of social networks are doing is no different than what the Nazis did. It's just book burning by another name.

      Except the Nazis knew what they were doing from the beginning. Zuckerberg changed society without having got out of his room enough to have much idea of what society actually was.

  4. Mark 85 Silver badge
    Facepalm

    See icon. Pretty much sms up how I view this. Don't get me started on those abominations called FB and Twitter as this article pretty much sums up things up. Oh.. and bit Z guy is thinking of running for President? Make that a double facepalm.

    1. Waseem Alkurdi Silver badge
      Trollface

      sms up

      Is it 2003 and WAP flip-phones again?

    2. SundogUK

      God I hope Zuckerberg runs for President (as a 'D' obviously.) Four more years for the R's.

      1. phuzz Silver badge

        I'm pretty sure Trump is standing for the 'Trump' party, who's policy aims are making sure that Trumps everywhere (well, all the Trumps that are him and maybe some of his family) get what they want and screw everyone else.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Trollface

    If the Declaration of Independence is hate speech then I fucking love hate speech. We Americans may be muzzled on social media for hatin' on you Brits, for example (all in good humor), but you can be arrested by humorless cops under hate speech laws as vague as Facebook's algorithms.

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      No system is perfect. However I'm willing to speak my mind on this side of the pond and take the risk of being arrested by a humourless cop due to poorly drafted laws, when at least he's not likely to shoot me in the process.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "We Americans may be muzzled on social media for hatin' on you Brits, for example"

      AIUI you also regard Magna Carta as a foundational document.

      Unfortunately we celebrated its 8th centenary by conveniently (for HMG) disregarding one of the few important remaining clauses, the presumption of innocence, in favour of the presumption of guilt to allow mass surveillance.

      1. jake Silver badge

        "AIUI you also regard Magna Carta as a foundational document."

        Not a foundation, rather something to work from. A rough sketch, if you will. We knew from the outset that we were just common folks, and the Magna Carta wasn't written for us. That's one of the reasons most of our ancestors bailed out of Europe.

        1. Teiwaz Silver badge

          That's one of the reasons most of our ancestors bailed out of Europe.

          The first waves bailed out as they were religious extremists, persecuted or merely prevented from practising their strange religious leanings*, later waves were fortune seekers, and then finally the destitute and the desperate.

          * Quite right too, usually the next step from being allowed to practise as they wish is becoming increasingly vociferous on the opinion that everyone else should practise as they do, by the sword if necessary.

          1. disgruntled yank Silver badge

            Bravo!

            @Teiwaz:

            Jamestown, founded 1607 by fortune seekers.

            Plymouth, founded 1620 by religious separatists.

            And in between were French and Dutch fortune-seeking ventures: Montreal and New Amsterdam.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fortunately for us here in the UK

    They have abolished all but about two remaining clauses in the original Magna Carta.

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: Fortunately for us here in the UK

      Not abolished as much as subsumed in the Bill of Rights 1689 and the Human Rights Act 1998. Things move on. Just as well, really, since the Magna Carta was much more about the rights of the barons than the rights of the serfs.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Fortunately for us here in the UK

        "Not abolished as much as subsumed in the Bill of Rights 1689 and the Human Rights Act 1998."

        Abolished seems about right. We now have the presumption of guilt to allow mass surveillance. Anything in the BoR or HRA is now subject to ministerial whim. Why do you think the Home Sec in No 10 wants to get out of the jurisdiction of the European Courts who represent the only real way of overseeing a UK govt's respect for human rights?

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Fortunately for us here in the UK

          Don't you just love being considered to be a criminal by your .gov, just for having the damn gall to be born British?

          1. Teiwaz Silver badge

            Re: Fortunately for us here in the UK

            Don't you just love being considered to be a criminal by your .gov, just for having the damn gall to be born British?

            The British Empire has been collapsing for nearly a century. Clearly some in government think it's not going quickly enough and have ramped up the program in the last ten years.

            Break up of the UK by 2050, probably (although Wales might need poking with a sharp stick).

  7. jake Silver badge

    What this shows ...

    ... is the futility of attempting to censor TehIntraWebTubes. There is absolutely no way to do such a thing in any meaningful way, making all such attempts an ineffective exercise.

    1. DropBear Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Re: What this shows ...

      Yes and no. While it may be all but impossible to grab a handful of sand in such a way that none of it escapes past your fingers, it's perfectly possible to get most of a handful of sand from point A to point B. When you're in the business of crowd control, that's quite sufficient - there is a plethora of tools to deal with whatever "escapes".

      1. MiguelC Silver badge

        Re: What this shows ...

        Unfortunately, as China has shown the world, it is possible to effectively censor the internet

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: What this shows ...

          Unfortunately, as China has shown the world, it is possible to effectively censor the internet

          No it isn't. At least not the Chinese way. If you know your Chinese internet culture, you'll know that people in China have canny and inventive ways of circumventing censorship, often by clever use of memes and puns involving characters with double meanings. By the time the government has worked out what they're talking about, it's a bit late.

          If you want effective censorship, the West have done it by allowing the internet to be reduced to just a babble of noise, in which it is impossible for any intelligent voice to make itself heard; therefore the populace stick to the 'mainstream' or 'approved' media channels, where they can be told what the powers that be want them to hear.

          1. ravenviz

            Re: What this shows ...

            clever use of memes and puns involving characters with double meanings

            Ah yes, search for "Mr train going into Mrs tunnel" at Baidu

  8. Another User

    Facebook worked better than expected

    At the time the colonies were at war with England and as such the Declaration of Independence was incitement.

    Facebook did catch that.

    Today every government would forcefully object if citizens were to complain about „no taxation without representation” and were about to ‘enforce’ stronger representation.

    1. BebopWeBop Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Facebook worked better than expected

      I am sure there is at least one US state who are very happy to tax ex felons for example (and anyone else they can conveniently wipe away for the crime of 'not voting for the ruling party') without allowing them to vote. Long way to go then......

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just cancel the Declaration of Independence

    We'll have you back if you start using the correct terminology, nappies, lifts and aluminium for example. You'll also have to get rid of that buffoon Trump as we have enough incompetence in government ourselves and whilst I think on, eggs are runny or hard and beer is served in pint measures not those little girly 330ml cans.

    1. Snivelling Wretch

      Re: Just cancel the Declaration of Independence

      ...and put proper doors on toilet cubicles (also not "stalls", incidentally).

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Just cancel the Declaration of Independence

        I've used the bog in Blighty & the US ... doors are doors. Some are better than others, but there is no overall appreciable difference between the two countries.

        Stalls are a good descriptive name. (Ever see what a horse does in it's stall?) Cubicles are where you spend the other 7 hours and 50 minutes at work (plus or minus).

  10. Claverhouse Silver badge

    And why not ? That pile of whining crap on freedom was written by a little shit who wouldn't even free his personal slaves when friends offered to compensate him for doing so. Hard cash.

    1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

      Along with the much lauded Magna Carta, many of these historical documents, while representing some useful progress/chainge betray ideas and principles that many would find difficult to support today.

  11. Waseem Alkurdi Silver badge

    Talk about Faceb00k's b0ts?

    Suffered loss of page after page (maybe 13 pages before it finally stopped doing that?) for our family's medical clinic just because the fucking bots see every single transaction from a rechargeable debit card as fraud.

    P.S. I have to use rechargeables as, in our country, regular credit\debit cards issued here don't work online.

  12. DavCrav Silver badge

    "The paper guessed that the term “Indian Savages” was the problem and suggested that "Perhaps had Thomas Jefferson written it as 'Native Americans at a challenging stage of cultural development' that would have been better." "

    Perhaps 'victims of colossal theft of land' might be a more appropriate phrase?

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge
      Joke

      Always playing the victim card. It was their Manifest Destiny to be slaughtered and driven off their land!

    2. stephanh

      irregular verbs

      I am a victim of colossal theft of land.

      You have a property conflict with government.

      He is a savage Indian.

      1. Waseem Alkurdi Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: irregular verbs

        Also depends on whether 'he' is in earshot. Have one (alcohol-free)!

    3. jake Silver badge

      "Perhaps 'victims of colossal theft of land' might be a more appropriate phrase?"

      I'll bow to the British expertise on the subject.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Algorithms are the spawn of evil

    A silly mistake, but showcase of a much more darker and intrusive problem: the growing dependency on algorithms. And that doesn't bode well for us. Because once "the system" has made up its mind, good luck trying to convince it otherwise. Especially when you have to deal with mindless drones such as public servants.

    You can see examples of these all around us. If you look close enough. A prisoner in the US had really come around and followed a role model. He applied for parole but was denied because he was deemed to be a danger for society. Eventually he got a lawyer to appeal, it came before a judge and the system turned out to be wrong. He got his parole. And the reason for this initial denial? His crimes fit the profile and so did his behavior so he was denied. Even though he was still an model prisoner.

    A small, maybe meaningless looking, example but it does showcase a growing, much bigger, issue.

  14. JimC

    We can expect plenty more stories like this

    As the mega advertising corps and their useful idiots try to generate as much propaganda as possible against anything that might control their behaviours...

    1. Giovani Tapini Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: We can expect plenty more stories like this

      No we can't - they will be supressed too.

  15. Christoph Silver badge

    "the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions"

    And guess who they learnt that from? The colonists not only massacred whole tribes, they deliberately spread lethal diseases.

    1. jake Silver badge

      "And guess who they learnt that from?"

      The French & the English would be my guess.

      "The colonists not only massacred whole tribes, they deliberately spread lethal diseases."

      Yep. That was them.

      1. Teiwaz Silver badge
        Joke

        Guess Who they learned that from...?

        The colonists 'were' french or english - not by nationality, but inherited mindset.

        As far as I remember from my history, the English got higher emigration, the French got better native cooperation, but it was the Spanish who got an attach bonus against natives.....

        ...No, wait, that was Sid Meiers Colonisation.

      2. DropBear Silver badge
        WTF?

        Surely the colonists were no angels (yes they did indeed do all that) - but if you suggest prior to them those Noble Natives were conducting all their conflict resolution by anything remotely resembling the Geneva Convention then I'm going to need the entire rest of the day off to laugh it off properly. Pot, kettle, they needed no "teaching" - and I'd wager most folks on the "less savage" side, as bad as they were, tended to stop short of doing certain things including but not limited to collecting skin off the heads of their vanquished foes.

        1. stephanh

          Colonists also engaged in scalping. Bounties were paid for indian scalps.

          Basically human history is drenched in blood, and nobody can claim the moral high ground.

        2. Teiwaz Silver badge

          most folks on the "less savage" side, as bad as they were, tended to stop short of doing certain things including but not limited to collecting skin off the heads of their vanquished foes

          Not unheard of in "less savage side" for soldiers to collect trophies. Likely frowned upon, but once you turn men into serial killers for political gain, it's not a surprise that serial killer behaviour often results.

          I'm not also 100% that the 'scalp' thing wasn't overblown as a form of propaganda to justify no quarter - best to make your enemy as inhumane as possible, don't want your troops sympathising, they might make friends in a sticky situation - death or glory and all that.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            I know some religions have special rules about this, but removing parts from a dead body without the permission of the deceased or their next of kin is a fairly minor transgression compared with killing people, surely?

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            "I'm not also 100% that the 'scalp' thing wasn't overblown as a form of propaganda to justify no quarter - best to make your enemy as inhumane as possible, don't want your troops sympathising, they might make friends in a sticky situation - death or glory and all that."

            Somewhere I got the idea that it was basic accounting - proof of work done in order to validate payment.

            Back in those days there were no cameras, so some other form of documentation was needed.

        3. Santa from Exeter

          @DropBear

          Quite the contrary. I think that you will find that the practice of taking scalps was known to *both* sides well before white men his continental America.

          Incidentally, it wasn't until fairly recently that Canada stopped (theoretically) offering a bounty for such.

  16. Teiwaz Silver badge

    The system Works

    Well, the Declaration of Independence* was (or is) hate speech.

    By modern standards anyway...

    * almost spelt independence with an a, that the IT gods for squiggly red underlines, forcing me to go look it up or install Grammerly (yeuch! more spyware, not on your life).

    1. stiine Silver badge
      Coffee/keyboard

      Re: The system Works

      You mean those dumbasses actually have to rewrite all of history, and not just the bits that they like?

      You're funny.

      1. Teiwaz Silver badge

        Re: The system Works

        You mean those dumbasses actually have to rewrite all of history, and not just the bits that they like?

        You're funny.

        You'd think they'd rewrite the bits they <don't</b> like. Why rewrite what's acceptable.

        And yes, I can be...

  17. MacroRodent Silver badge

    Emperor Facebook the First

    that Facebook’s decisions can change the fate of a business. And now those decisions are being made by tone-deaf robots.

    Never mind the fate of businesses, Facebook and its tone-deaf robots now affects the fate of nations...

    1. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: Emperor Facebook the First

      Never mind the fate of businesses, Facebook and its tone-deaf robots now affects the fate of nations...

      The fate of nations is already in the hands of 'robots'. Or at least some strange sorts who endlessly apply the same broken solutions without learning.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: some strange sorts who endlessly apply the same broken solutions

        ... must ... not ... make .. snide ...comments ... about ... programmers ... who ... use ... $DISLIKED_LANGUAGE ... here ....

        dammit!

        :-)

  18. HausWolf

    That's ok, last year when the Declaration of Independence was read on public radio ( something they have done for almost 20 year) the trump voters swore up and down that it was a plot to overthrow trump.

    Guess that goes to show the intelligence of the type of person who voted for him.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just goes to show Article 13 is full of shit and a potential disaster which was rightly kicked out by MEPs

  20. Jonathon Green

    I like Americans, they’re funny...

    1. jake Silver badge

      We may be funny, but you are repetitive and boring. Which would you prefer at a party?

  21. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

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