Facebook’s translation tool calls China’s President Xi Jinping “Mr. Sh*thole”

Facebook has apologized for the error.

Facebook has apologized today after Chinese President Xi Jinping’s name was translated as “Mr. Shithole” whenever users on the platform tried to translate text from Burmese into English.

President Xi was this weekend visiting Myanmar to meet with the Burmese State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi and discuss infrastructure plans. Suu Kyi made a Facebook post about the meeting and it's here that the issue came to light.

An example of the offending translation.

“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 today. “This issue is not a reflection of the way our products should work and we sincerely apologize for the offense this has caused.”

Facebook has faced several problems with translations from Burmese to English in the past. In 2018, Facebook temporarily removed the entire function after a report showed the tool was producing incorrect and controversial results.

Cindy Harper

Cindy Harper is a tech news staff writer based in Maryland, USA. After getting her start in local journalism, Cindy now reports mostly on social media stories for Reclaim. [email protected]