Social Media

Facebook Mistakenly Declares The Philippines At War

In trying to wish their users a happy Independence Day, Facebook accidentally offended the island nation

Social Media
Red on top means war — Facebook
Jun 13, 2016 at 11:32 AM ET

Since launching in 2004, Facebook gradually amassed great power, but the social network never used that power to declare war. That all changed on Sunday, when Facebook posted a seemingly innocent message to its users in the Philippines in honor of the country’s day of independence. The problem is that the Filipino flag in the post was flying upside down—an indication that the country is at war.

The image that appeared in users’ timelines read, “Happy Independence Day! Here’s to all of the Philippines’ health, happiness and prosperity.” But locals were quick to point out that Facebook had made a serious error. According to the The Flag and Heraldic Code of the Philippines, in times of peace it’s the blue field that must be displayed on top. Red on top means war.

Facebook soon removed the offending flag and apologized for the error in a statement: “This was unintentional, and we’re sorry. We care deeply about the community in the Philippines and, in an attempt to connect people on Independence Day, we made a mistake.” Google, for its part, marked the holiday with a Google doodle that managed not to cause an international incident.