Incident 415: Facebook Provided Offensive Translation for King of Thailand's Birthday Ceremony

Description: Facebook's Thai-English translation gave an inappropriate mistranslation on Thai PBS's Facebook live broadcast of the King of Thailand’s candle-lighting birthday ceremony.


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Alleged: Facebook developed and deployed an AI system, which harmed live-stream ceremony viewers and King Maha Vajiralongkorn.

Incident Stats

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Incident Date
Khoa Lam
Thai PBS clarifies inappropriate messages Claims that Facebook's automatic translation system has problems · 2020

Thai PBS has published a case statement. Inappropriate messages appearing on Facebook live broadcast Candle lighting ceremony Confirmed that it was a problem with the text translation system from Facebook itself.

On July 9, the Thai PBS Fac…

Facebook offers sincere apology to the Thai people over auto-translate error · 2020

Facebook has admitted to an error in its automatic translation, from English to Thai, and has offered a profound apology to the Thai people.

The mistake appeared on Thai PBS’s Facebook page on July 28th, His Majesty the King’s birthday.

In …

Facebook under investigation over translation blunder as minister criticises the social network · 2020

Social media giant Facebook found itself under investigation this week by the Crime Technology Division of the Royal Thai Police following an inadvertent blunder during a ceremony for the King’s birthday on Tuesday which led to a message be…

FB told to apologise for 'mistranslation' · 2020

The Digital Economy and Society (DES) Ministry has sent an urgent letter to Facebook in Singapore and Thailand, demanding the social media giant take responsibility over a mistranslated headline from English into Thai about the live broadca…

Lost in translation: Facebook’s royal translation error · 2021

On 28 July 2020, widely-followed media outlet, Thai PBS, posted a live stream of the candle-lighting ceremony celebrating His Majesty the King’s birthday on its Facebook page.

The caption of the live stream, said:

“[Live] Candle-lighting ce…


A "variant" is an incident that shares the same causative factors, produces similar harms, and involves the same intelligent systems as a known AI incident. Rather than index variants as entirely separate incidents, we list variations of incidents under the first similar incident submitted to the database. Unlike other submission types to the incident database, variants are not required to have reporting in evidence external to the Incident Database. Learn more from the research paper.