A small French town named Bitche had its official Facebook page removed because of apparent confusion from Facebook’s censors, who seemed to have mixed it up with the similar-sounding English swear word, according to local town officials.
The small community close to the German border with a population of only 5,000 had been pleading with the tech giant for nearly a month to restore its page, which the social media platform overlords dismissed until Tuesday, officials reported.
“Facebook had censored our Bitche City page. We appealed and tried to contact Facebook through various means, including through contact forms and private messages on Facebook France’s page,” a post on the Ville de Bitche Facebook page explained on Tuesday.
“The President General Manager of Facebook France has personally contacted the Mayor to inform him that the City of Bitche page has been published again and to apologize for any inconvenience that may have been caused.”
Officials from the French town claimed the page was censored because it violated Facebook’s terms of service, despite the fact that Bitche has no English translation and the French word for the common slur used by Jesse Pinkman of “Breaking Bad,” hip-hop artists, Rick James, and dog breeders is totally different from the English word.
The Bitche spokesperson, Valérie Degouy, said town officials had left “about ten messages every day” on the page for Facebook France before they finally received a response. Admins from Facebook France informed the community that they would need to wait for an official ruling from Facebook, according to The Sun.
“There is a logo of the city of Bitche which clearly shows that it is Bitche. The cover photo is the town hall,” Degouy explained.
“We’ve appealed but this can take a long while,” the town hall spokesman in Bitche noted.
The town’s Facebook page, which offers important details about COVID-19 screenings, mask-wearing, and school enrollments, was returned to the platform as of Tuesday morning.
In their haste to get something on the platform for the community to see, officials said they were left with no choice but to build a new page called “Mairie 57230,” an allusion to the town’s zip code.
“The City’s official page has been removed by Facebook. We made an appeal, but for now it is still invisible. The appeal process can take several months, that’s why we created this page to continue communicating with you on social networks,” a post on Monday explained to the good people of Bitche, asking their followers to tell others about the interim page.
Degouy explained the roadblocks the town faced creating the original Facebook page in 2016.
“I already had problems when I created the town’s Facebook page. I could not enter the word Bitche, it was impossible,” the spokesperson noted, as reported by the Sun.
“I had to create a page that I had called Ville fortifiée, and change it afterwards, in the description, to say that it was the official page of the town of Bitche and point out at the same time, the user name was Ville de Bitche. At that time in 2016, it was allowed.”
After Bitche’s unfortunate social-media silencing, other French towns with similar—or perhaps even more problematic—names may be wondering about the reception they would get on the platform if they tried to build a Facebook page.
Towns such as Condom, Orgy, Arse Stream, Arse Waterfall, the village of Anus, and a town close to the Italian border named Pussy may not meet the terms of service requirements—not to mention towns in other countries such as Hell, Norway, which does in fact freeze over.
Facebook officials have yet to make a public comment regarding the ongoing issue.