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Facebook Apologises for Deleting Official Page of a French Town Called 'Bitche'

Bitche. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Bitche. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The mayor of the town with a population of 5,000 stated that Facebook removed Bitche's official page citing a violation of its guidelines.

Mark Zuckerberg owned Social media giant, Facebook has received strong criticism after it removed the official page of Bitche, a small town in France. The incident occurred after the algorithm of the social media platform mixed the name of the town located in North-East France in Moselle with the English abuse. The mayor of the town with a population of 5,000 stated that Facebook removed Bitche’s official page citing a violation of its guidelines. Facebook officials on the incident clarified that the error which took place on April 19 has been rectified and the page is back on the platform.

The town’s mayor in an official statement informed that Facebook on March 19 informed that their official page by the name ‘Ville de Bitche’ has been removed for not aligning with the guidelines of the Facebook pages. The mayor also said that the town’s reputation is hampered owing to the wrong interpretation of its name.

The town’s administration upon removal of the page created a new one by the name Mairie 57230 which incorporates the zip code of the town.

The mayor also raised questions on Facebook’s methodology of monitoring content and said that the incident reflects the insufficient capability of Facebook to moderate content and only human involvement can improve the same.

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The president of the social media site’s French division, as per BBC, contacted the mayor to inform him that the page has been reinstated and also apologised for the incident.

In response, the mayor has invited him, as well as Zuckerberg to pay a visit to ‘Ville de Bitche’ and explore the beautiful, fortified town.

Meanwhile, Facebook recently removed the like button from its redesigned public pages used by artists, public figures and brands. This moved is aimed at shifting focus more on the news feed for conversations, rather than highlighting the likes on FB pages.

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first published:April 15, 2021, 12:44 IST