Facebook has apologized after coming under fire for flagging the posts of some residents of “the Hoe” in Plymouth, United Kingdom.
Plymouth Hoe referred to locally as “the Hoe”, is a large south-facing open public space in the English coastal city of Plymouth. It is one of the most well-known sites in the UK’s seafaring history, the spot where Sir Francis Drake reputedly finished a game of bowls before heading out to fight the Spanish Armada, Guardian UK reported.
But the name of the place which is derived from the Anglo-Saxon word for a sloping ridge – was judged by Facebook to have breached rules on harassment and bullying. The social media platform assumed the creators of the post were using a misogynistic term, as it is used as slang for ‘prostitute’.
Facebook users were advised to leave a space between each letter to avoid being blocked and some claimed they were banned for 24 hours after mentioning “the Hoe”.
The administrator of one Plymouth Facebook page warned its users to be careful when mentioning the Hoe. “Just a quick post to say anyone living Plymouth h o e, please don’t write it as one word. Facebook are saying it’s harassment and muting people and giving them a Facebook ban. It’s not us doing that.”
A Facebook user, Jennie Wills wrote: “Someone asked me where I swam in Plymouth and I replied ‘Plymouth H O E’. I got told off for bad language and could not comment for two days.”
Facebook has now apologised for the error. In a statement directed at their Plymouth-based users, a Facebook spokesperson said, “These posts were removed in error and we apologize to those who were affected. We’re looking into what happened and will take steps to rectify the error.”
Many locals saw the funny side and noted that the name of The Hoe had always been a source of local amusement.
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