In yet another screw-up by Facebook’s overzealous algorithms, the French commune, Bitche, saw its page blocked from the site before being reinstated after the social media firm realised its error, according to a Politico report. It’s not the first time Facebook’s systems messed up this year, in January, Neowin reported that Facebook threatened to shutter a group after someone listed a collection point as Plymouth Hoe, a historical location in the British city, Plymouth.
According to Valérie Degouy, who runs the page, an appeal was made to Facebook on March 19 explaining that Bitche was really the name of the area but received no response and in the meantime messaged the official French Facebook page but it responded saying it could do nothing and that Degouy had to wait for the appeal response.
Despite the appeal being made nearly a month ago, Facebook only reinstated the page following the publication of Politico’s article which highlighted the issue. It raises the question of how many other people are affected by Facebook’s algorithms that wrongly interpret content on the site.
Given the social network’s size, Facebook will likely never abandon its algorithms because they do legitimately shut down and prevent abusive material. However, it does show that Facebook still needs to work on the algorithms to detect obscure cases like this or improve its appeal process.