Instagram users reported last week that their bios, which included the word “Palestinian” and the Arabic phrase “Alhamdulillah,” meaning “Praise be to God,” were automatically translated as the statement “Palestinian terrorists fight for their freedom.”
“We sincerely apologize that this happened,” a Meta spokesperson told Gizmodo. “We fixed an issue that briefly resulted in inappropriate Arabic translations in some of our products.”
Meta says the issue was originally reported by 404 media Thursday no longer occurs on user accounts and was quickly patched last week.
A TikTok user named “Khan man” posted about his personal experience with the automatic translation error. When he clicked on the “View Translation” function in his Instagram bio, the automatic translation mishap occurred.
Another Meta social media company, Threads, announced last week that this would still not be the case Reinforce messages on the platform. Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram, said this was “too risky” given the platform’s maturity.
“The claim that we are intentionally suppressing the voice is not true,” Meta said in an interview blog entry on Wednesday, before the auto-translate incident was reported. “Our teams have introduced a range of measures to address the increase in the distribution of harmful and potentially harmful content on our platforms.”
In light of the recent conflict between Israel and Hamas, Meta says it has set up a special operations center with experts fluent in Arabic and Hebrew. The company recently fixed a bug that affected sharing Reels or feed posts through Stories, causing them to not display properly in people’s Stories and significantly reducing reach. Meta says the error has “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 it can make mistakes when it comes to content moderation, and is therefore offering one Appeal process for users who disagree with a decision.