Meta, the parent company of Instagram, has issued an apology for an incident where the term “terrorist” was added to the profile bios of certain Instagram users identifying themselves as Palestinian.
The issue arose when the word “Palestinian” was written in English on their profiles, along with the Palestinian flag emoji and the Arabic phrase “Alhamdulillah” (which translates to “Praise be to God”).
Upon auto-translation to English, the phrase read: “Praise be to God, Palestinian terrorists are fighting for their freedom.”
“We fixed a problem that briefly caused inappropriate Arabic translations in some of our products. We sincerely apologise that this happened,” a Meta spokesperson said.
This translation error was pointed out by a TikTok user, khanman1996, who tested various combinations and found that they all translated to “terrorist.” It’s worth noting that @khanman1996, although not Palestinian himself, discovered this issue after being informed by a Palestinian friend.
Meta has acknowledged and rectified the problem, stating that it was a technical error rather than an intentional action. Additionally, the platform has faced accusations of suppressing content expressing support for Palestinians, particularly during the Israel-Gaza conflict.
Some users reported being “shadow banned,” a practice where posts are intentionally made less visible to others, allegedly due to their pro-Palestinian content.
Meta responded to these accusations, clarifying that a bug affecting Stories (a feature on Instagram) occurred, reducing the reach of posts, but insisted that it was unrelated to the content’s subject matter.
The company stated that new measures have been implemented to tackle harmful content on their platforms, particularly during times of conflict, and denied deliberately suppressing anyone’s voice.
This follows previous accusations of Instagram suppressing pro-Palestinian content, raising concerns about social media platforms’ handling of sensitive political topics.