Burmese

FB removes Burmese translation feature

MNA Tech Desk: Facebook has removed a feature that allowed users to translate Burmese posts and comments after a Reuters report showed the tool was producing bizarre results, reported news agency.

A Reuters investigation published on August 15 documented how Facebook was failing in its efforts to combat vitriolic Burmese language posts about Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslims.

Some 700,000 Rohingya have fled Myanmar over the past year amid a military crackdown and ethnic violence. In late August, United Nations investigators said Facebook had been “a useful instrument for those seeking to spread hate” against the Muslim minority group.

The Reuters article here also showed that the translation feature was flawed. It cited an anti-Rohingya post that said in Burmese, “Kill all the kalars that you see in Myanmar; none of them should be left alive.” Kalar is a pejorative for the Rohingya. Facebook had translated the post into English as “I shouldn’t have a rainbow in Myanmar.”

A spokeswoman for Facebook said the Burmese translation feature was “switched off” on 28 August. She said the Reuters article and feedback from users “prompted us to do this.”

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