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Facebook Censors Hennepin History Museum Book Event on Prosecuting the KKK

Klansmen doing their thing

Klansmen doing their thing

When the Hennepin History Museum's marketing team woke up Saturday morning, they browsed their emails and checked Facebook. They've been promoting a number of upcoming events, including a fireside chat on March 8 about historian Elizabeth Dorsey Hatle's book, The Ku Klux Klan in Minnesota, which chronicles a former governor's successful prosecution of Minneapolis Klansmen in the 1920s.

Apparently, that topic was a tad edgy for Facebook.

The events page that museum staff created for the author talk had disappeared, substituted with a big warning for "violating community standards." Facebook also shut down the history museum's official page for several hours before staff launched a temporary reboot.

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"We think it's really an overreach of their censor thing that just the name itself would trigger the entire closing down of the site. It seems really excessive," says museum director Cedar Imboden Phillips.

This is likely just a case of some misfiring algorithm buried deep in Facebook's security features, and not some color-blind ploy to redact all the N-words from Huckleberry Finn. On the bright side, now that the Hennepin History Museum's page is back up, it's already received a few more likes and RSVPs. Phillips says she's excited to have a full house for the March 8 talk.

"It's really just a scholarly approach. A lot of people in Minnesota don't realize ... they think of racism as just something that happens in the South and they don't realize there's a long history of that here as well."

Send news tips to Susan Du.