After conducting a brief investigation of the disappearance of a controversial note about a proposed Ground Zero area mosque Sarah Palin posted on her Facebook page, the social network said that the note had been deleted “by an automated system” – and the former Alaskan governor’s rant did not violate its terms of service.
“The note in question did not violate our content standards but was removed by an automated system,” Facebook spokesperson Andrew Noyes said in a statement on Thursday. “We're always working to improve our processes and we apologize for any inconvenience this caused."
Earlier in the day, Facebook said it would “investigate” why Palin’s note had been removed.
The note — "An Intolerable Mistake on Hallowed Ground” – was posted to Palin’s page on Tuesday, but vanished on Wednesday after a group of Facebook users flagged it as a violation of Facebook’s Terms of Service governing “hate speech.”
"To build a mosque at Ground Zero is a stab in the heart of the families of the innocent victims of those horrific attacks," Palin wrote in the note, which was reposted to her account on Thursday morning with a footnote:
“The original post of this statement was somehow unintentionally deleted by mistake or technical glitch.”
It appears it was a glitch, and not some sort of anti-Palin autobot, after all.
"We're investigating this incident to determine whether the content in question was removed by an automated system as a result of user reports that it violated our terms,” Noyes said early Thursday. “We want Facebook to be a place where people can openly discuss issues and express their views while respecting the rights and feelings of others. The goal of our policies is to strike a very delicate balance between giving people the freedom to express their opinions and viewpoints — even those that may be controversial to some — and maintaining a safe and trusted environment."
This is not the first time Facebook has been forced to thread the Freedom of Speech needle. As Caroline McCarthy notes, the social network – which just passed the 500 million member milestone – has banned certain “hate” groups, like “I Hate Muslims” and Holocaust deniers, from using the platform.