Facebook censors promoted posts featuring the word ‘Scunthorpe’ for being vulgar

In October 2015, Facebook users noticed that the phrase  ‘Everyone will know’ seemed to trigger some serious security issues with Facebook. In fact if you tried to post one, you would get a popup message indicating that this is not allowed.

Similar sort of situation seems to have emerged when you try to make a promote a post containing “Scunthorpe.” Facebook wont let you do that.

According to Independent, Facebook has enabled profanity filter feature for the use of the word Scunthorpe. It is currently banning all posts with that word because it contains within it a word describing a woman’s genitals.

Facebook’s action came to light when the band October Drift was trying to promote its Scunthorpe show. “As a band we like to promote our shows via Facebook. But Facebook has none of it when trying to boost the posts,” October Drift’s Dan Young told The Independent.

“We always put a note in saying that it’s the profanity filter that’s failing for the town name but Facebook still doesn’t make the amendment. Surprising given they’re supposed to be at the forefront of modern tech,” added Young.

This is not the first time such an incident has occurred on Facebook over the use of the word Scunthorpe. A similar issue was highlighted earlier in 2016 by an advertiser from Scunthorpe who was trying to promote the town.

“My ad not approved because of the word Scunthorpe. Seriously, Facebook, are your algorithms written by 5-year-olds?” questioned a user named Jon Jarman, “I don’t need to see what is and isn’t approved – there’s nothing wrong with the advert, it’s just the fact that word Scunthorpe is in it. As soon as I type the word ‘Scunthorpe’ I get an immediate warning that my ad contains inappropriate language.”

Scunthorpe has been at the butt of clash for many other users.

‘The Scunthorpe Problem’

  • In 1996, AOL email users were blocked from using the word Scunthorpe in their email addresses
  • IT professional Craig Cockburn was unable to register his name on the BBC website in 2004
  • Many websites featuring Sussex, such as the one for its university, have been blocked by content filters
  • The Clbuttic mistake: Many websites have replaced entries of “ass” with “butt”, leading to sentences such as “Abraham Lincoln was buttbuttinated by an armed buttailant”
  • Residents of Clitheroe, Penistone and Lightwater have all had emails blocked and internet browsing disrupted for the same reasons as Scunthorpe

While Facebook doesn’t ban profanity, boosted posts – in which the poster pays Facebook to display the message in the feeds of users who have not liked their page – must meet stricter guidelines.

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