Kentucky's largest school district called out the world's largest social media company for removing posts announcing the hiring of Black principals. The Jefferson County Public School system regularly posts about their teacher's, and other administrators, accomplishments but, their most recent ones were removed.
The school district says that they posted about the promotions of 11 different administrators. Six of them were about White administrators and five were African-American. The five posts about the African-American administrators were removed by the social media platform.
The district said it appealed and asked Facebook how the posts fell into that category. They received no response for weeks, so Marshall called Facebook out on Twitter.
"We're putting up principals who want to lead public schools and somehow or another, whether its an algorithm or someone posting that it's inappropriate, it needs to be rectified and justified and explained," Marshall said.
Facebook did put the posts in question back online Tuesday evening. WDRB News was told that Congressman John Yarmuth contacted Facebook about the problem.
In a statement to WDRB News, Facebook said:
"These posts were mistakenly removed by out automated system. We sincerely regret the error and are looking into how it happened."
The company also spoke to a JCPS spokesperson, who told WDRB News the algorithm Facebook used was trying to catch racist posts where users were ranting or complaining about people of color getting high profile jobs.
Olmsted Academy South Principal Synthia Shelby, Conway Middle School Principal Dr. Jeannie Lett and W.E.B. DuBois Academy Principal Dr. Monica Hunter are three of the educators whose posts were taken down.
"I was thinking what's going on here? Why is it that African American females posts have been taken down, but our white counterparts have not," said Hunter. "I thought, 'This is 2022.' How do we still have algorithms and social media with all the technology we have, with all the brilliant minds we have, how is it this algorithm pinpointed us?"
Shelby's came down first, followed by Lett's and eventually Hunter's and the remaining two Black female educators. None of the white principals' posts were flagged or removed by the algorithm.
"I celebrated every last one of those people because those were my colleagues," said Shelby. "We were diminished in our capacity to celebrate what we should have had as an as an enormous moment for Black women being able to be in leadership in Jefferson County. It was very disappointing to friends and family. My joy was decreased because I wasn't able to be celebrated in the way I could've been celebrated."
Facebook has been notorious for blocking accounts, "jailing" users and removing posts without any appeal or explanation. We're thankful that everyone who worked so hard for their promotions had their posts restored.