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FACEBOOK EXPRESSES ‘REGRET’ AFTER BALLOONS AND CONFETTI DECORATE POSTS ABOUT DEADLY INDONESIAN EARTHQUAKE

 

Facebook expressed regret after users’ posts about an earthquake in Indonesia were accidentally adorned with animated balloons and confetti.

An algorithm set off the animation when users wrote selamat in the wake of the environmental disaster on Sunday in Lombok that claimed the lives of nearly 100 people and left an estimated 20,000 people homeless. The Indonesian word has multiple English translations, including “congratulations,” “happy,” “unhurt” and “safe,” depending on the syntax.

 

Herman Saksono, a Ph.D. student in computer science at Northeastern University, raised the issue Sunday on his Twitter account. “After the 6.9 magnitude earthquake in Lombok, Facebook users wrote ‘I hope people will survive’. Then Facebook highlighted the word ‘selamat’ and [threw] some balloons and confetti,” he tweeted. The post was retweeted more than 1,500 times, gaining Facebook’s attention.

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