back to article Facebook doesn't know its onions: Seeds ad banned after machine-learning algo found vegetable pic 'overtly sexual'

Facebook's computer-vision algorithm flagged an innocuous advert for onions posted on its social media platform for being "overtly sexual." The Seed Company by EW Gaze, a Canadian garden store, wanted to advertise its Walla Walla onion seeds on the social network, but its attempt was shot down after the image used in the …

  1. chivo243 Silver badge

    Please o' Please!

    When linking to Farcebook, please let us know it's a Fecesbook link, how rude!

    1. DJV Silver badge

      Re: Please o' Please!

      The text reads "...Facebook's automated software clearly disagreed. A screenshot posted by the company..." - what made you think it might not have been a link to Fartbook?

  2. Jason Bloomberg

    Should have gone to SpecSavers

    I'd nearly finished knocking one out before I realised it was a picture of onions.

    1. MiguelC Silver badge

      Re: Should have gone to SpecSavers

      Watch out when you go, though, you might bump into Dominic there..

    2. DJV Silver badge

      Re: Should have gone to SpecSavers

      So that's why your eyes were watering so much...

    3. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: Should have gone to SpecSavers

      You're going blind already?

  3. Schultz

    Sexually offensive...

    lies in the eye of the beholder. So we shouldn't second-guess the AI if it feels offended. Accept that those onions are offensive to some 'intelligent' beings and avoid overt depictions of bulbous indecencies in the future!

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: Sexually offensive...

      'Allo darlin' would you like to see my alliums?

      1. a pressbutton

        Re: Sexually offensive...



        Would be interested in a video of your etchings.

      2. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

        Re: Sexually offensive...

        I think that is just about shallot for onion jokes today thankyou very much.

        1. David 132 Silver badge

          Re: Sexually offensive...

          Honestly, I'm just disappointed that no-one has come up with the obvious "yes onions can be erotic, has no-one heard of the Lady of Shallot?" joke yet. Poor show, El Reg. Commentards, you have let me down.

          1. Sanguma

            Re: Sexually offensive...

            Not to wish to offend, but aren't you forgetting the Lady of Shallittles?

      3. Shadow Systems

        Re: Sexually offensive...

        I object to sex on the telly!


        I keep fallin' off.


        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Sexually offensive...

          It's those new-fangled flat screens.

    2. jake Silver badge

      Re: Sexually offensive...

      "lies in the eye of the beholder"

      Must be human nature. As they say "love is blind".

  4. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    PuritanBook has lost the Plot!

    big time.

    It is well past its close down by date and should be shut down ASAP.

    1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

      Re: PuritanBook has lost the Plot!

      Couldn't agree more, though crappy AI-based detection of boobies is purely incidental.

  5. wurdsmiff

    Could it be

    Eccentrica Gallumbits, the triple-breasted whore of Eroticon Six? No, just some onions. I'll get me towel.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Those are some nice bulbs

  7. Wyrdness

    I'm enjoying the ML Resume generator:

    "Bug fixes and maintenance of mainframe based Cobol" at Gitlab. That certainly explains a lot.

    1. jake Silver badge

      "Bug fixes and maintenance of mainframe based Cobol"

      There is actually seriously good money in that. I just placed a kid (under 25yo) in such a position. He's making $95K/year to start. Granted, he's been playing with COBOL since he was pre-teen ...

      "at Gitlab"

      Maybe not so much ...

  8. David in NL Canada

    Support the Business!

    Hey... if you like the story about the onions, maybe by some seeds from them... they are a small company in my home town and could use the COVID business! :) And, hey, who DOESN'T want to grow sexy onions!!!

    I am NOT affiliated in any way and will not profit if you purchase... but these stories do have real people behind them! :)

    1. Filippo Silver badge

      Re: Support the Business!

      They should run with this, and make a marketing campaign out of their sexy, sexy onions. I bet they'd enjoy a brief but significant sales boost.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Support the Business!

        Maybe they could get a spot on That's Life!

        Wait...what's that you say?

        Git of ma' lawn...<snore>

    2. David 132 Silver badge

      Re: Support the Business!

      I do my bit for the Walla Walla onion industry every year by getting Burgerville's seasonal WW onion rings and burgers... what more could I reasonably do :)

    3. jake Silver badge

      Re: Support the Business!

      They should re-name 'em the Hubba Hubba.

      Good onions to grow, BTW. Recommended.

      Note: Your soil type will affect the taste of the onion ... they might not be as sweet as the ones grown in Washington State's Walla Walla Valley, even though you are planting the same seed. In the wine business we often talk about "terroir". What most people don't realize is that it applies to virtually every other crop grown for food, not just grapes.

  9. Teiwaz

    onions are too sex?

    Has anyone tried an ad for melons, plums, banana or pomegranate.

    ...certain mushrooms, or oddly shaped turnips?

    I like a nice stir fry you can giggle along to.

    1. Macs1000

      Re: onions are too sex?

      I'm a peach man, myself!

      1. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

        Re: onions are too sex?

        With fuzz or without?

  10. Claverhouse Silver badge

    Perhaps it somewhat resembles a breast if you squint really hard

    Obviously the only rational thing to do is to form a Committee to remove every picture of breasts on the Internet.

  11. The commentard formerly known as Mister_C Bronze badge

    Proof positive (if it were required)

    AI just doesn't know its onions.

  12. Maelstorm Bronze badge

    Brings new meaning to "Got'em in the onions."

  13. Howard Sway

    AI taxi driver

    The driverless cabs need a virtual driver application, which can scape the most reactionary comments from the Mail Online website and relay them to the user using speech synthesis and a speaker during the journey. This program would count as True AI, as it would easily pass the Turing test (i.e. it would be a completely autonomous pogram whose output is indistinguishable from a real cab driver)

  14. jake Silver badge

    On the bright side ...

    ... AI will never be allowed to do anything dangerous, like drive cars.

  15. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

    Does this mean...

    We've officially reached peak rule 34 of the internet? Or just thst we've finally built machines to truly ensure that there's no exceptions?

    Either way brings a tear to my eye...

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Onion Farming

    There’s a farmer near us, grows onions, field after field of them. Presumably a photo of one of those would be counted as some sort of onion orgy by Farcebook?

  17. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    Trained off? Shirley they mean trained on. What is it about Sceptics and their inability to get directionality adjectives the right way around? Though this is a new one.

    1. eraiser

      At least it wasn't trained 'off of'...

  18. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

    Another layer of indirection

    I looked at the fake-resumé site, and the one it showed me had a reference from "Juan Carlos Carlos Carlos Martins De De De De De De Oliveira". I can't use that. That name needs to be dereferenced five more times.

  19. LeahroyNake

    How do you like those apples !

    Sorry onions...

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