How Facebook's Translation Software Imprisioned an Innocent Man - BuzzNation

How Facebook’s Translation Software Imprisioned an Innocent Man

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Israel police wrongly arrested a Palestinian man after Facebook mistranslated his simple greeting “Good Morning” into a terror threat.

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.

On another occasion in which Facebook is being sued by a Syrian migrant who, after posing for a selfie with Angela Merkel, was falsely accused.  Anas Modamani took the selfie in September 2015 when the German Chancellor visited a migrant shelter where he was living.


It was something he came to regret when his passing resemblance to one of those involved in a outrage in Brussels led to his being wrongly accused.

“When the claims started being circulated on social media, I was in Munich visiting friends,” he told the BBC. “Some friends advised that I stay at home and avoid going out in public, which I did.

By then he had disabled his own Facebook account. But angered at being targeted again, he has decided to take legal action.

A Facebook spokesman defended the social media organisation.  “We received a takedown request from Mr Jun alleging that a specific item of content on our platform violates Mr Modamani’s right of personality.

“Access to that reported content was quickly disabled, so we do not believe there is any basis for him to seek an injunction.”

Chan-jo Jun, his lawyer, is seeking an injunction preventing Facebook from publishing “the slanderous image of the Syrian refugee Anas Modamani”.


To everybody reading, it bring’s to light “be careful what you post”.

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