One of the benefits of automation is that it saves you a lot of time. However, sometimes automation can backfire because unless you have created a perfect system, and there’s really no such thing as a perfect system, things can go wrong. Take for example the folks at The Seed Company by EW Gaze in St John’s, Newfoundland, who recently had an ad for onions rejected as it was too sexy by Facebook’s standards.
While onions are delicious, we wouldn’t really go as far as calling them sexy, but (no) thanks to Facebook’s automation, the company rejected the ad for it, claiming that listings should not be made in a “sexually suggestive manner”, Of course this was a mix up, but according to store manager Jackson McLean, he speculates that perhaps the roundness, smoothness, and maybe even the color of the onions could have caused Facebook’s filters to think it might be related to a person’s breasts or buttocks.
In a statement made to the BBC, Facebook Canada’s head of communications, Meg Sinclair said, “We use automated technology to keep nudity off our apps, but sometimes it doesn’t know a Walla Walla onion from a, well, you know. We restored the ad and are sorry for the business’s trouble.” This is actually not the first time Facebook has accidentally banned posts, ads, or groups, which only goes to show that perhaps more work needs to be done on these filters to make them more accurate.