Four score and 100 years ago – well actually it was just about four months ago – a Black man took to Twitter and said he’d been wrongfully incarcerated by the Facebook censorship police because he quoted the Declaration of Independence. He had the screenshots to prove it.
On July 5, a day after America celebrated its independence, Twitter user @IramiOF, who identifies himself as Irami Osei-Frimpong, posted a screenshot from Facebook stating he’d been banned from the platform for seven days because his content violated its community standards on hate speech.
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The problem: That content was a direct quote from The Declaration of Independence. “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,” Osei-Frimpong had posted.
A self-described “Political Thinker,” Osei-Frimpong then added, “Remember those ‘domestic insurrections’ were slave revolts.” His comment is a widely accepted position by historians, scholars and journalists.
The Facebook censorship police promptly banned him for a week. When he clicked the button for a review, he was told he was a “repeat offender” and given a 30-day ban, Osei-Frimpong added in his Twitter thread.
Osei-Frimpong’s ban isn’t an isolated incident. Many Black users of social media platforms have complained about Silicon Valley’s censorship issues, which seem to be racially motivated in many cases.
Some gave examples of their own experiences with the Facebook censorship police. “I know your pain. I’m on an unjust 30 day ban too. And they used past bans that had been removed due to their error. A guy made a vile comment about George Floyd and I replied with a GIF,” Twitter user @Daniell10013340, who identifies herself as Danielle Smith, replied.
“Habitual line stepper. lol. I’ve caught so many bans I just stopped using the platform. It’s unfortunate,” user @KamilleKasshu chimed in.
Osei-Frimpong’s Twitter thread went viral and after some backlash, Osei-Frimpong tweeted the following day his Facebook ban had “been mysteriously lifted,” adding “Zuck works in mysterious ways,” referring to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.
While many expressed this was “good news” for him, others stated the only reason it was reversed is because Osei-Frimpong’s viral tweets exposed the social media giant’s racism.
Twitter user @mi_keezy tweeted, “’…the facebook ban has been mysteriously lifted.’ You effectively exposed Facebook’s over-zealous intent to censor you for having used a quote posted from this country’s founding documents to do it. They also inadvertently indicted the source as being rife w/ racism.”