Mark Zuckerberg has recently admitted that Facebook is a new kind of Media Company. The platform deals with an incredibly large amounts of news every single day. This is why the CEO decided that employees should be replaced by an artificial intelligence algorithm. While human capabilities are limited, the bots can step in and finish large loads of work in no time. However, the Facebook algorithm was just found responsible for a goof. It sent a safety alert in Bangkok for a catastrophe that actually took place in 2015. The authorities took this event seriously and mobilized for it in real time.
This Tuesday, the crisis notification tool from Facebook activated late in the day for apparently no reason. The digital event notified Bangkok citizens of a sudden explosion that went on in the Thai capital. The protocol of this social media tool is to ask people that are located in the affected areas to announce their social friends if they are safe. Usually, when a calamity takes place, there is chaos and everybody from that area can be a victim. This way, Facebook wanted to create a connection between friends and families in real time. With just a simple check, the people in danger can announce the network of their situation.
The safety alert went on when a BBC article published on August 17, 2015, was considered by Facebook algorithm a real time event. The subject of the post tackled a bombing aftermath when 20 people were killed at the Erawan Shrine in Bangkok. The safety alert appeared as an instant notification for people in this area. They could read that an explosion occurred on December 27, 2016, at 11 a.m. Facebook employees took notice immediately and closed the safety alert several hours later.
Bangkok is now urging Facebook to apologize for the incident. With the New Year around the corner, this incident might have a negative impact on the new wave of expected tourists. However, Facebook defended the algorithm. The company stated that the safety alert could only be triggered by third parties. When a number of people from a certain location start posting messages with worrisome keywords like earthquake, explosion, and others, the tool becomes active. It seems like the false alert was triggered by a protester who threw minor explosive near Government House.
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