Insensitive Facebook Sends Users Balloons and Confetti on Earthquake Posts


When citing why big government doesn’t work, conservatives may point to the U.S. Post Office, which they assert cannot deliver the mail on time and/or at the right address.

But now Facebook, which has increasingly become more government-regulated, has done the U.S. Post Office one better in the pratfalling department.

While Indonesian medical workers raced to find water and food for the survivors of Sunday’s 7.0 magnitude earthquake on Indonesia’s Lombok Island (which, according to Breitbart, claimed the lives of 347 people by the time of publication), Facebook users wanting to send messages of sympathy to the island saw their posts decorated with balloon and confetti symbols.

The word that “triggered” these symbols was “selamat,” which in Indonesian roughly translates to “unhurt” or “survive” — but it can also mean “congratulations.”

Facebook was soon alerted by users to the insensitive symbols on the messages.

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Facebook corrected the matter and issued an apology:

“This feature (a text animation triggered by typing ‘congrats’) is widely available on Facebook globally, however we regret that it appeared in this unfortunate context and have since turned off the feature locally.

‘Our hearts go out to the people affected by the earthquake.” said Lisa Stratton, a spokesperson for Facebook.

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This mistake is merely one of many lately committed by Facebook.

Back in March, The Guardian reported that Facebook shared “the personal data of about 50 million Americas” with a “political consultancy” group.

After this mistake — which allowed third parties to extract personal data about Facebook users — went viral, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg apologized.

According to Zuckerberg the data sharing was “a breach of trust between Facebook and the people who share their data with us and expect us to protect it.”

Sheryl Sandberg, an official with Facebook, added,  “We know that this was a major violation of people’s trust, and I deeply regret that we didn’t do enough to deal with it.”

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In light of the company’s recent and repetitive mistakes, Zuckerberg expressed his willingness for Congress to put more regulations on his company.

Even so, it’s hard to believe that politicians, equally, if not more so, prone to mistakes and privacy violations, could correct this situation.

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