Facebook Inc said on Saturday it was working to find out how Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s name translated into an objectionable word in posts on its platform, apologising for any offence caused and saying the problem had been fixed.
The error came to light on the second day of a visit by the president to the Southeast Asian country, where Xi and state counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi signed dozens of agreements covering massive Beijing-backed infrastructure plans.
A statement about the visit published on Suu Kyi’s official Facebook page was littered with objectionable references to the Chinese President when translated into English from Burmese
It was not clear how long the issue had lasted but Google’s translation function did not show the same error.
“We have fixed an issue regarding Burmese to English translations on Facebook and are working to identify the cause to ensure that it doesn’t happen again,” Facebook said in a statement.
“This issue is not a reflection of the way our products should work and we sincerely apologise for the offence this has caused,” the Facebook said.
China is Facebook’s biggest country for revenue after the United States, and the tech company is setting up a new engineering team to focus specifically on the lucrative advertising business there, Reuters reported last week.
“We are aware of an issue regarding Burmese to English translations on Facebook, and we’re doing everything we can to fix this as quickly as possible,” a spokesperson for the tech company said in a statement.
“This issue is not a reflection of the way our products should work and we sincerely apologise for the offence this has caused.”
Facebook has faced numerous problems with translation from Burmese in the past. In 2018 it temporarily removed the function after a Reuters report showed the tool was producing bizarre results.