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Facebook Apologizes For Adding Balloons and Confetti to Posts on the Deadly Indonesia Earthquake

Facebook apologized Wednesday after users posting about a deadly earthquake in Indonesia had their messages covered in balloons and confetti.

The powerful 6.9-magnitude earthquake that struck the island of Lombok has left more than 130 people dead and displaced thousands.

While exchanging messages on Facebook about the earthquake, many Indonesian speakers used the word “selamat,” which has several meanings including “safe,” “unhurt” or “congratulations” depending on the context. Facebook’s feature misinterpreted the comments and automatically sent out celebratory animations.

“We regret that it appeared in this unfortunate context and have since turned off the feature locally,” Facebook spokesperson Lisa Stratton said in a statement to news site Motherboard. “Our hearts go out to the people affected by the earthquake.”

According to authorities, more than 156,000 people have been displaced and tens of thousands of homes have been destroyed, BBC reports. The Indonesian Red Cross said Thursday that an estimated 20,000 people in remote areas of the island are still without aid.

The National Disaster Mitigation Agency said that at least 131 people were killed in Sunday’s earthquake, but other agencies say the death toll has risen to more than 300.

Off the coast of Lombok, some 5,000 foreign and Indonesian tourists have been evacuated from three outlying islands, AP reports.

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