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.”


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