Algorithm Fail: Facebook Bans Onion Ad For Showing Too Much Skin

Algorithms are imperfect. You see this whenever YouTube suggests a video wildly out of sync with what you normally watch or Instagram keeps giving you advertisements for things you would never buy. Well, Facebook’s algorithm apparently has a bug, too, because it recently banned an onion ad.

Say what? Yes, the social media behemoth apparently scanned a Gaze Seed Company’s ad for $1.99 Walla Wallas and determined that the root vegetables were arranged in a “sexually suggestive manner.”


Photo: Facebook

“I guess something about the two round shapes there could be misconstrued as boobs or something, nude in some way,” Jackson McLean, a manager at the Newfoundland-based firm, told CBC News. “You’d have to have a pretty active imagination to look at that and get something sexual out of it.”

We wouldn’t put anything past the imaginations of Facebook users. It is where fake news thrives, after all. But come on, if an onion looks alluring to you, you definitely don’t get out enough.

McLean tried to alert Facebook of the flub, but didn’t hear back…until the media caught wind of it. Then he got a response.

“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,” said Meg Sinclair, a rep for Facebook Canada told CBC News. “We restored the ad and are sorry for the business’ trouble.”

No word on whether Facebook apologized for slut-shaming the onions, but we imagine they’re steamin’ mad.

Cover Photo: VvoeVale (Getty Images)

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