Facebook blocks Canadian company’s onion ad for being ‘sexually suggestive’
In a bizarre incident, Facebook had blocked a Canadian seed company’s advertisement featuring onion bulbs for being ‘overtly sexual’
October 09, 2020 / 11:12 PM IST
To the rest of the world, an onion may just be a common vegetable, but Facebook found something about it 'sexually suggestive' recently. In a bizarre incident, the social media giant had blocked a Canadian seed company’s advertisement featuring onion bulbs. The picture was censored by Facebook for being 'overtly sexual', in what later turned out to be an algorithm mix-up.
Canada’s CBC News reported that the Gaze Seed Company’s advertisement for $1.99 Walla Wallas was blocked on grounds that the onions were positioned in a 'sexually suggestive manner'. The nudity algorithm had reportedly mistaken the bulbs for female breasts.
Speaking about the incident, Jackson McLean, Manager at the Newfoundland-based company, said: “I guess something about the two round shapes there could be misconstrued as boobs or something nude in some way. You would have to have a pretty active imagination to look at that and get something sexual out of it.”
He had taken a screenshot and posted on Facebook stating: “Just got notified by Facebook that the photo used for our Walla Walla Onion seed is ‘overtly sexual’. Can you see it?”
He had even asked Facebook to review and revoke the ban on the content but had not heard back for days until the local media caught wind of it.
Facebook later admitted to making a mistake and wrote that they use an automated technology to censor nude content, which sometimes “doesn’t know a Walla Walla onion from a, well, you know.” They then apologised for the “business trouble” and informed that the ad has been restored.