A Facebook-algorithm reportedly understood the Indonesian word “congratulations,” triggering inappropriate animations.
Facebook has apologized after the messages sent by users expressing their concerns over the deadly earthquake in Indonesia incorrectly are decorated with animated balloons and confetti through the social network.
An earthquake on Sunday killed at least 131 people, including some who died in buildings that had been weakened by a previous July 29, quake on the tourist island of Lombok.
A Facebook-algorithm reportedly understood the Indonesian word “congratulations,” in the messages, that it is inappropriate animations. Depending on the context, “congratulations” can mean “unharmed” or “congratulations,” says the BBC.
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“After the 6.9 earthquake in Lombok, Facebook user wrote, “I hope that people will survive’. Than Facebook emphasizes the word ‘selamat’ and throw a number of balloons and confetti,” tweeted Herman Saksono, a doctoral student in computer science at Northeastern University.
“Congratulations” in Indonesian is “selamat”. Selamat also means “to survive.”
After the 6.9 earthquake in Lombok, Facebook user wrote, “I hope that people will survive”. Than Facebook pointed to the word “congratulations” and throw a few balloons and confetti. pic.twitter.com/DEhYLqHWUz
— Herman Saksono (@hermansaksono) August 6, 2018
Facebook then told Saksono that the function had been disabled.
“This function (an animation is activated by means of ‘congratulations’) is widely available on Facebook worldwide, but we regret that it appeared in this unfortunate context, and has since disabled the function locally,” a Facebook spokesperson told Motherboard. “Our hearts go out to the people affected by the earthquake.”
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Facebook’s algorithms are in the spotlight at the moment. The social network, for example, recently tagged an excerpt of the Declaration of Independence of hatred. Facebook then acknowledge the error and recovered the post.
In spite of algorithmic errors, Facebook continues to ramp up the efforts around the AI to better serve society. The social network has already used the technology to help blind people to ‘see’ the platform and also the flag of the messages that the people are thinking of harming themselves.
Fox News’ Chris Ciaccia, and The Associated Press contributed to this article.
Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers