Palestinian arrested in Israel as Facebook translates ‘good morning’ to ‘attack them’

A mistake by Facebook in translating a message led to a man being detained by the Israeli police.

According to a report in The Guardian, a Palestinian man ended up in the Israeli prison after Facebook’s machine translation service mistakenly translated his Arabic message that meant ‘good morning’ to ‘attack them’.

The man, who works in the construction sector at West Bank had posted a picture of himself leaning on a bulldozer with an Arabic caption ‘yusbihuhum’ that means good morning. However, the AI-powered translation service of the social networking company wrongly translated the word. The caption was mistranslated into Hebrew with the meaning ‘attack them’.

Alarmed by the wrong translation, Israeli police arrested the man. The man was later questioned by the authorities who feared that he may be planning to carry out an attack on Israeli citizens probably with the aid of the bulldozer. It was only later that the authorities realised their mistake.

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Facebook on its part has stated that it will look into the mistake. The company was quoted saying in a report by Gizmodo that ‘even though our translations are getting better each day, mistakes like these might happen from time to time and we’ve taken steps to address this particular issue.’