Facebook is apologizing after the site’s Indonesian users reported seeing confetti and balloon animations when posting about Sunday’s deadly earthquake which killed more than 345 people.
Facebook users writing the Indonesian word “selamat”—which roughly translates to “unhurt” or “survive”— when referring to the 7.0-magnitude earthquake reported seeing confetti and balloons when they were writing messages of sympathy to their friends and family on social media.
“Congrats” in Indonesian is “selamat”. Selamat also means “to survive.”
After the 6.9 magnitude earthquake in Lombok, Facebook users wrote “I hope people will survive”. Then Facebook highlighted the word “selamat” and throw some balloons and confetti. pic.twitter.com/DEhYLqHWUz
— Herman Saksono (@hermansaksono) August 6, 2018
Once users alerted Facebook to the feature, the company disabled the celebratory feature for Indonesian language users and sent its “regrets.”
“This feature (a text animation triggered by typing ‘congrats’) is widely available on Facebook globally, however we regret that it appeared in this unfortunate context and have since turned off the feature locally,” Facebook spokesperson Lisa Stratton told Vice Motherboard. “Our hearts go out to the people affected by the earthquake.”
The earthquake which hit Indonesia’s Lombok island on Sunday evening killed at least 347 people, and officials say the death toll is likely to increase.
Indonesian disaster relief authorities are trying to find food, potable water, and medical care for the 1,477 people severely injured and the 156,000 forced to evacuate their homes due to the disaster.