FB apologizes for Lombok quake balloons blunder
Facebook apologised on Wednesday after users posting about a deadly earthquake in Indonesia on the social media platform saw their messages decorated with images of balloons and confetti.
A 7.0 magnitude quake struck the tourist island of Lombok on Sunday, killing at least 347 people and leaving thousands homeless, according to the government-run Antara news agency.
Reuters said many Indonesian speakers wrote messages on Facebook using the word ‘selamat’ – which can mean ‘safe’ but also ‘congratulations’ – triggering celebratory animations.
“The feature (automatic animations for ‘congratulations’ in posts) is widely available on Facebook globally,” a spokesman for the world’s largest social network said in a statement.
“However we regret that it appeared in this unfortunate context and have since turned off the feature locally.”