These automatic ad bans just keep getting funnier.
To all people who fear that AI will soon take over the world, turn into Skynet and then kill us all off if they won't use us human batteries.... We have a while to go before it gets there. The program is only as smart as the programmer, you know, and it seems like every week we hear of yet another gaffe where an online ad is rejected because the automatic system doesn't grasp the context. Context is a really cool thing, y'all should look into it. Just last week "vaginas" was the word that sent up the alarm bells at Facebook, but this time it's the word faggots that has offended Google's text ad system.
- "Faggots... you mean..."
- "No no no, not the bundle of sticks, the other faggots.
- "You mean... uh.. faggots?"
- "Yes! As in saucy little plump, yummy, and fresh, faggots."
You see, there's a little café called “Fanny's Rest Stop” in Newport, which despite their terrible taste in fonts and eclectic 50-diner-ish furniture, serves all the classics that a proper greasy spoon in the UK should. The owner, Jo Evans-Pring, enlisted her friend Chris Barnbrook for help setting up her online presence, to promote her business and advertise. Things were going quite well, with new customers dropping in and business picking up, until one day an ad was unceremoniously rejected.
“I posted an advert on the website for Fanny's faggots with peas and onion gravy, a pretty traditional meal and one of my favourites, on the 27th.” explains Chris Barnbrook.
Jo Evans-Pring received an email from Google the day after a new advert went live, telling her that her advert had been removed.
“Recently, a post was removed from your Business Profile,” the email said. “To help ensure your posts create a positive experience for users, please review our content policy.” Ah, that blasted content policy again. Content policies don't care about context.
“Me and Chris had a look, and realized they'd moved the faggots one – and we couldn't think it was for any reason other than it having the word ‘faggots' in it.”
Oy vey, wait until Google hears about the delightful spotted dick and other assorted names that don't travel well.