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Facebook’s translation software got a man wrongly arrested

Facebook’s translation software got a man wrongly arrested
[Photo: Nicholas Kwok/Unsplash]

Israel police wrongly arrested a Palestinian man after Facebook mistranslated his simple greeting into a terror threat, reports Sky News. A Palestinian construction worker had taken a photo of himself next to a bulldozer in an Israeli settlement where he works and then posted the photo of himself to Facebook, writing “good morning” in Arabic. What happened next was unexpected, to say the least. Israel police showed up and arrested the man on suspicion of launching an imminent terror attack.

Facebook’s automatic translation software somehow badly messed up the translation, translating “good morning” in Arabic to “attack them” in Hebrew and “hurt them” in English. The situation wasn’t helped by the fact that there was a bulldozer in the photo, machines which have been used in terror attacks before. Thankfully the police immediately released the worker once the translation error had been discovered. There’s no word from Facebook yet on how exactly such a grave error in their translation software happened in the first place.MG