IT happens: Facebook sorry for Xi Jinping's name gaffe

Naypyidaw (Myanmar) (AFP) –


Facebook apologised Saturday for a distasteful mistranslation of Chinese President Xi Jinping's name from Burmese language posts during his much-touted visit to Myanmar.

His two-day visit to Myanmar's capital Naypyidaw was the first made by a Chinese leader in almost two decades.

But the historic moment was dimmed by the automatic translation feature on Myanmar's Facebook -- which rendered Xi Jinping's name from Burmese into English as "Mr Shithole".

The scatalogical error most notably appeared on the official Facebook page of Myanmar's civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

"Mr Shithole, President of China arrives at 4 PM," said a translated announcement posted earlier Saturday.

"President of China, Mr. Shithole, signed a guest record of the house of representatives," it continued.

A Facebook spokesperson told AFP the social platform "has fixed the issue regarding Burmese to English translations" on their site.

"We sincerely apologise for the offense this has caused," they said in an emailed statement.

The company said it was unable to give any further details about whether the embarrassing error was due to a hack, software issues or something else.

Tech-nascent Myanmar loves Facebook.

The platform is the most popular site for news, entertainment and chat -- many even see it as synonymous with the internet.

Politicians and government agencies also use it for official statements and announcements.

The site -- which has more than two billion users globally -- is restricted in China.