Facebook says sorry for Lombok earthquake posts triggering celebratory balloons

Facebook has apologised after its platform set off celebratory images of balloons and confetti when users were posting on the recent earthquake in Lombok, Indonesia, said multiple media reports. When Facebook users were commenting on the matter using the word “selamat”, it prompted the platform to use balloons and confetti. This was because “selamat” can mean both “congratulations” and “safety”.

In a statement to Marketing, a Facebook spokesperson explained that the feature is widely available on Facebook globally.

"However we regret that it appeared in this unfortunate context and have since tuned off the feature locally. Our hearts go out to the people affected by the earthquake," the spokesperson added.

The animated text feature was first introduced in 2017.

That being said, Facebook’s Safety Check feature has been seeing repeated use to enable users to notify their friends and relatives that they are safe following disasters.