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Friday, 28 Feb 2020

Facebook Apologizes for Vulgar Translation Incident in the Name of Chinese Leader

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Facebook Apologizes for Vulgar Translation Incident in the Name of Chinese LeaderFacebook Apologizes for Vulgar Translation Incident in the Name of Chinese Leader

News24xx.com - Facebook Inc. said on Saturday that it was working to find out how the name of Chinese leader Xi Jinping appeared as "Mr. Shithole" in a post on his platform when translated into English from Burma, apologizing for the violations caused and said the problem had been fixed.

The mistake was revealed on the second day of the president's visit to the Southeast Asian nation, where Xi and state adviser Aung San Suu Kyi signed dozens of agreements that included a massive infrastructure plan supported by Beijing.

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A statement about the visit published on Suu Kyi's official Facebook page was filled with references to "Mr. Shithole" when translated into English, while the title in the local news journal Irrawaddy appeared as "Dinner honors president shithole".

It is unclear how long this problem lasted but Google's translation function did not show the same error.

"We have fixed the problem about the translation of Burma into English on Facebook and are trying to identify the cause to ensure that it does not happen again," Facebook said in a statement. "This problem is not a reflection of the way our products work and we sincerely apologize for the violations they caused."

China is the biggest country on Facebook for revenue after the United States, and the technology company has formed a new engineering team to focus specifically on the lucrative advertising business there, Reuters reported last week.

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"We are aware of the problem regarding the translation of Burma into English on Facebook, and we are doing everything we can to fix it as quickly as possible," a technology company spokesman said in a statement.

"This problem is not a reflection of the way our products work and we sincerely apologize for the violations they caused."

Facebook has faced many problems with translations from Burma in the past. In 2018 it was temporarily removing functions after Reuters reports showed the device was producing strange results.

An investigation documented how the company failed in its efforts to fight Burmese posts about Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, around 730,000 of whom fled the military crackdown in 2017 which according to U.N were carried out with "genocidal intentions".

It also shows that the translation feature is flawed, citing an anti-Rohingya post advocating the killing of Muslims translated into English as "I must not have a rainbow in Myanmar".


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