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27th Jan 2021

Facebook apologises for flagging ‘Plymouth Hoe’ as offensive term

The social media platform has apologised for falsely flagging mentions of Plymouth's seaside landmark as an offensive term

Reuben Pinder

“These posts were removed in error and we apologise to those who were affected.”

Facebook has apologised after removing posts about the Plymouth Hoe, having falsely flagged comments mentioning the landmark as offensive.

Plymouth Hoe, a beloved beauty spot in the south west of England, is described by the Visit Plymouth website as a “breathtaking panorama” with “unbeatable views across Plymouth Sound.”

But, obviously, it sounds quite like a misogynistic term for sex worker, despite being spelt differently.

But of course, context is everything. The word ceases to have offensive meaning when preceded by ‘Plymouth’ in reference to the scenic coastline.

Problems arose when an administrator of a Plymouth based Facebook page noticed some posts being removed for offensive content. “Just a quick post to say anyone living Plymouth h o e, please don’t write it as one word,” hey said. “Facebook are saying it’s harassment and muting people and giving them a Facebook ban. It’s not us doing that.”

One Facebook user complained of their comment being removed, saying: “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.”

A Facebook spokesperson said: “These posts were removed in error and we apologise to those who were affected. We’re looking into what happened and will take steps to rectify the error.”

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