Facebook apologizes for flagging UK site ‘Hoe’ as offensive

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Facebook apologizes for flagging UK site ‘Hoe’ as offensive
Foto: Shutterstock

Facebook has taken the task of preventing abuse within its platform very seriously. However, on this occasion, the drastic security measures of the social network caused a confusion that caused the annoyance of the inhabitants of a city in the United Kingdom.

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What was the error due to? Here we tell you!

  • An error in Facebook’s security systems put the platform in trouble when it detected an alleged violation of its terms and conditions
  • Facebook mistakenly labeled a site containing the letters ‘Hoe’ as ‘offensive’, despite being the official name of a city in the UK
  • The company has already apologized for the situation, claiming that the deleted posts correspond to an error on their part.

For Facebook, the safety of its users is an important issue, although recently a group of users in the United Kingdom were unhappy because the company’s drastic measures led to the removal of some of its publications.

The confusion was caused when Facebook labeled posts from a historic district of the city as ‘offensive’. UK called Plymouth Hoe.

This site is located in the city of Devon, and it is the first time that a situation of this type has been reported within the social network, one of the most used in the world.

For some time, users in this district began to realize that their posts were being removed.

Indeed, Facebook decided to take measures to lower the publications that mentioned Plymouth Hoe, considering this last word as ‘offensive’.

Upon being notified of this situation, Facebook assured that “it would take measures to rectify the error.”

One of the first users to realize the situation was Dawn Lapthorn, creator of the page “Don’t Dump it, Plymouth and Surrounding areas”, who was surprised to receive notifications from the page, in which her posts as’ offensive ‘for violating’ community standards regarding abuse and harassment. “

The user stated that “A woman in the group sold hats, and she forgot to say where she made the deliveries, so people asked her and she replied that it was in Plymouth Hoe”; “Suddenly,” he added, “I started receiving notifications asking me to delete the comments. Later, her daughter contacted me asking why her mother had been banned from commenting in the group. “

Other users in the same group also received similar notifications and saw some of their posts removed.

Lapthorn added that “I have heard that various Facebook groups have been taken down because of this, and with the work we do in the community and with 26,000 members, I have worked hard to put it all at risk.”

For now, Facebook has apologized for the situation, and one of its spokespersons noted that “These posts were removed by mistake, and we apologize to those who were affected. We are finding out what happened and will take steps to rectify the error. “

In this regard, the executives and administrators of the platform have argued that it can detect words or combinations of letters that are defamatory, offensive or incite harassment, although in the case of Plymouth the veto was not due to any of those circumstances.

Photo: Shutterstock

Privacy is very important to Facebook, and the company will take even more drastic measures to protect users

Although the Plymouth Hoe case is isolated, Facebook’s problems do not end with solving that small setback.

In recent weeks, Facebook has been singled out by the Motherboard portal for presenting failures in its privacy systems and for not taking action against the theft of a database with the telephone number of its users.

This database, they say, is being offered in Telegram; at least that’s how it was detailed by Alon Gal, a researcher who was the first to point out this vulnerability.

He explained that there is a bot that has personal information of more than 500 million Facebook users since 2019.

The reason why the data has been offered via Telegram is because the platform has two functions that allow recognizing a person’s phone number from their Facebook username; By having the phone number, the bot can access your name on the social network.

Thus, the bot has the ability to access and share sensitive information that it can sell to anyone who is willing to pay for that data.

According to computer experts, a phone number or username can have a market value of up to $ 20.

This failure was reported for the first time in 2019; However, the most recent tracking of the bot occurred on January 12, 2021, although it is unknown if Facebook is already working to put a stop to this situation.

For some people, a positive aspect of the situation is that many of these numbers may have already been deactivated, while for others this is not an advantage, since mobile device users do not tend to change their phone numbers frequently.

For now, it is also not known if the company has taken legal steps to end this invasion of its database, but it is likely that the executives will reach a solution in the coming days.

Photo: Shutterstock

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