Meta apologises for auto-translation bug on Palestinian Instagram bios

While Meta fixed the problem and issued an apology, questions about transparency in content moderation policies and the handling of Palestinian content on the platform continue to be a reason of concern.

Meta's logo Electronics, Mobile Phone, Phone, Person, Face, Head

Meta issued an apology after a bug in their auto-translation feature inaccurately inserted the word ‘terrorist’ into the profile bios of some Palestinian Instagram users, stating it has now resolved the problem. This issue was first reported by TikTok user YtKingKhan and affected users with specific profile elements.

This bug occurred during the auto-translation process and affected users with the word ‘Palestinian’ in English, the Palestinian flag emoji, and the Arabic phrase ‘alhamdulillah’ in their profiles. When auto-translated to English, it inaccurately read, ‘Praise be to god, Palestinian terrorists are fighting for their freedom.’

Why does it matter?

This issue highlights that while technology has the potential to connect and empower, it also has the power to perpetuate harm and discrimination, making it crucial for companies like Meta to continuously reassess and improve their systems, especially in times of conflict and ongoing accusations of content censorship.