Facebook has extended its apologies to China’s president Xi Jinping for erroneously translating his name to “Mr Shithole”.
With Slick Nick busy defending his employer’s decision to keep letting politicians post false adverts, the task of dishing out this new and unforeseen genre of corporate atonement fell to Facebook’s policy communications manager, Andy Stone.
“We fixed a technical issue that caused incorrect translations from Burmese to English on Facebook,” said Stone. “This should not have happened and we are taking steps to ensure it doesn’t happen again.”
Fine, fair enough. It turns out the translation software had somehow developed the habit of changing any word in the Burmese language that begins with “xi” or “shi” to “shithole”, which sounds absolutely nuts, but stranger things have happened. It wasn’t long ago that the US president – who doesn’t even have the excuse of being an algorithm – made the same mistake with El Salvador, Haiti and every country in Africa.
It’s thought that the chances of China responding in kind to an American company comparing its leader to an anal passage are slim, though, due in most part to Xi Jinping’s counterpart already being called “Mr Trump”.