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There are regular onions, and there are onions that are very interesting, according to Facebook. This is what a Canadian seed and garden supplies store recently discovered.
The Seed Company in Newfoundland, Canada, wanted to place an advertisement on Facebook for the seeds of its own type of onion called Walla Walla onion.
But to their surprise, the ad was dismissed as having “obvious sexual” connotations.
In a statement on Wednesday, the social media company apologized for the mistake made by its robotic technology.
The ad that Facebook canceled showed the “Walla Walla” onion, known for its size and sweet flavor, piled in a basket, with some sliced onions next to the basket.
The seed store manager, Jackson McLean, said it took him some time to realize what the problem was with the publishing.
Then he discovered that “something with the round shapes” of onions could suggest that these images are of the breasts or buttocks.
He knew that his clients would find rejection of the ad hilarious, so he posted the photo that included the automatic warning message from Facebook on the company’s page.
MacLean said some of the agents had posted pictures of carrots and pumpkins with possibly sexual suggestion in response to Facebook.
McLean contacted Facebook about the ad.
Meg Sinclair, head of public relations at Facebook Canada, told the BBC: “We use automated technology to keep nudity out of our apps, but (this technology) sometimes, you don’t know anything but (something else), you know.”
She added, “We have returned the advertisement and are sorry for any problems we could have caused to the company.”
McLean said that the company is in the process of digitizing its entire inventory to make online shopping easier amid the Corona virus pandemic, and this included promoting some ads on Facebook, such as the Basal advertisement “Walla Walla”.
He added that the “Walla Walla” onion is “one of the old onion varieties,” and it was recently returned to stock based on customers’ request. It is now selling quickly due to its recently acquired “bad” reputation.
“We have sold more in the past three days than in the past five years,” said McLean, adding that the “Walla Walla” onion is now listed under the “Hot Onion” list on the company’s website.
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