Facebook Translations Bug Results in Racist Recommendations

Yesterday I wrote about Facebook launching public profile recommendations, but one thing many users began to note was the offensive statements visible in the recommendations box. Personally, I had been recommended to become a fan of the “Morning Sex” public profile but that was about as offensive as I thought it would get.

Soon after I posted, a number of people notified me of offensive statements that were showing up in the box and then by the evening one of our readers, Liam McKinnon, sent us as screenshot of some offensive content which I’ve posted above. Essentially what had taken place was that someone had modified the word “friends” to become the phrase “friends are double n****rs”.

There were other phrases that were appearing but by today the bug was fixed. This isn’t the first time that the Facebook translations application has been abused. Back in January, Facebook’s advertising promotion page had the word “Ads” replaced with “Lying”. The problem was quickly fixed but it has become clear that the translations application can be abused.

Bugs like this happen all the time on other sites. If you can pardon the joke, it’s essentially an offensive Easter egg. Facebook might want to consider some type of filtering system to avoid offensive content from being displayed through the translations application at all (if that was in fact the source of the offensive content this time).

Did you see the offensive content pop-up in the recommendations box as well? Do you think Facebook should do something to prevent this from happening again?

Apparently this has been a known issue for sometime as developers were dealing with “translation vandals”. Perhaps the problem will end up being resolved soon!