Facebook Accidentally Blacked Out an Entire Language

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Social Networks

Facebook Accidentally Blacked Out an Entire Language (theverge.com)



from the how-about-that dept.

On January 16th, Facebook users received an error message when posting in Jinghpaw, a language spoken by Myanmar’s ethnic Kachin and written with a Roman alphabet. From a report: “We couldn’t post this. Tap for more info,” the message said. When clicking, a second appeared: “Your request couldn’t be processed. There was a problem with this request. We’re working on getting it fixed as soon as we can.” A Facebook representative told The Verge that the issue was caused by “a bug in our language infrastructure,” and coincided with the launch, the same day, of an updated language identification model supporting ten new languages, including Jinghpaw. The representative said Facebook fixed the issue within hours of receiving reports on January 17th. But while the disabling of Jinghpaw was not an active move of censorship, it alerted many Kachin people that Facebook had the capability to identify their language, an alarming thought for the embattled minority group. That realization has evoked a visceral reaction from the Kachin, and brought forth new calls for the company to be more transparent about its technology and the ways it will be used.

The life of a repo man is always intense.


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