If you do not know the language French, the term “Ville De Bitche” may strike you as English slang. BUT that is about me and you. Facebook with a team dedicated to R&D is not expected to make such a mistake. However, its algorithm did make this mistake and is now being criticised for temporarily removing the official page of the small French town of Bitche. The small town in Moselle, northeast France had its name confused with English slang and therefore removed by Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook. However, now of course, Facebook has not only reinstated the page but also apologised for its mistake after receiving backlash from not only its mayor but common netizens.
Bitche’s mayor said the Facebook page of the town (population 5,000) was removed on 19 March for violating site rules. Facebook said it had reinstated the page on Tuesday after spotting the error. “On 19 March, Facebook informed us that our page, Ville de Bitche, was no longer online, on the basis that it was ‘in violation of conditions applying to Facebook pages’,” the town’s mayor, Benoît Kieffer, said in a statement (in French) to BBC.
Ville De Bitche’s Facebook Page Informed its Readers of The Page Being Reinstated:
“The name of our town seemed to suffer from a bad interpretation. What has happened to the town of Bitche demonstrates the insufficient and limited moderating tools that only the human gaze can appreciate,” he continued.
The mayor said the president of French Facebook had contacted him on Tuesday to tell him the page had been reinstated and to apologise for the inconvenience. Mr Kieffer invited him, as well as Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg, to visit Bitche “to discover our pretty fortified town”.
Another town in the region, Rohrbach-lès-Bitche, renamed its page “Ville de Rohrbach” on Monday. “Facebook seems to be hunting a term associated with Rohrbach… we’ll let you imagine the reason,” the town said in a post on Facebook.
Bitche in the Moselle, population 5,000 and home to the Bitchois, fell foul of the social network’s algorithm, which deemed it insulting and removed it without explanation last month.
(The above story first appeared on Fresh Headline on Apr 14, 2021 02:12 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website freshheadline.com).