Instagram Apologises for Putting ‘Terrorist’ In Palestinian Users’ Bios

Instagram Apologises for Putting ‘Terrorist’ In Palestinian Users’ Bios

Instagram users reported last week that their bios including the word “Palestinian” and the Arabic phrase “Alhamdulillah”, which means “praise be to God”, were auto-translated to say “Palestinian terrorists are fighting for their freedom.”

“We sincerely apologize that this happened,” said a Meta spokesperson to Gizmodo. “We fixed a problem that briefly caused inappropriate Arabic translations in some of our products.”

Meta says the problem, originally reported by 404 Media Thursday, is no longer occurring on user accounts and was patched quickly last week.

A TikTok user known as “Khan Man” posted about his personal experience with the auto-translation bug. When he presses the “see translation” feature on his Instagram bio, the auto-translation mishap occurs.

Other Instagram users made allegations against Meta for shadow banning those who mentioned Palestine on its platforms according to a report from TechCrunch Thursday.

Another social media venture from Meta, Threads, announced last week they would continue to not amplify news on the platform. Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri said doing so would be “too risky” given the maturity of the platform.

“There is no truth to the suggestion that we are deliberately suppressing voice,” said Meta in a blog post Wednesday before the auto-translation incident was reported. “Our teams introduced a series of measures to address the spike in harmful and potentially harmful content spreading on our platforms.”

Meta says it established a special operations centre staffed with experts fluent in Arabic and Hebrew in light of the recent conflict between Israel and Hamas. The company recently fixed a bug impacting stories sharing reels or feed posts, not allowing them to show up properly on people’s stories and significantly reducing reach. Meta says the bug had “nothing to do with the subject matter of the content,” and was fixed as quickly as possible.

Meta claims to have the largest third-party fact-checking network of any platform. However, the tech company acknowledged in Wednesday’s post that they can make errors in content moderation, so they offer an appeals process for users who disagree with a decision.

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