Facebook’s Algorithm Mistook Onions As Nude Content

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Algorithms has been known to make mistakes, and it seems Facebook is having difficulty differentiating between delicious onions and nude content.

A garden centre in Canada was shocked to discover its ad for Walla Walla Onion seeds had been removed because it contained ‘products with overtly sexual positioning’. It seems, however, that the mistake is due to Facebook’s algorithm, and not some suggestive onion arrangement.


The notice of the ad removal clarified that ‘listings may not position products or services in a sexually suggestive manner’, but this still left the company mystified. Facebook has now stepped in to remedy the situation, although it is still unclear how the Walla Walla Onion Seeds were sexually positioned.

The Gaze Seed Company

Facebook has explained the reasoning behind the mistake to CBC News:

We use automated technology to keep nudity off our apps. But sometimes it doesn’t know a Walla Walla Onion from a, well, you know. We restored the ad and are sorry for the business’s trouble.


Only time will tell whether other vegetables fall victim to Facebook’s algorithm, but for now, the garden centre will likely be pleased by the fact that its advert is back online – with a little bit of added publicity.

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Topics: News, Facebook, Now


  1. CBC

    Peeled back: 'Overtly sexual' onions get Facebook reprieve

Daniel Richardson
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