Thursday, 25 September 2014

Top Spanish news agency apologizes for gay Rajoy hashtag

While sending what was actually an extremely serious tweet, Efe, a top Spanish news agency, accidentally added a hashtag which contained a colloquial term for "homosexual" in reference to the Spanish Prime Minister. The news agency has since apologized. 

Many people have had the experience of their mobile equipment automatically correcting spelling errors, or predicting their next word, sometimes with amusement and other times with sheer annoyance.

In the current case, a top news agency in Spain has caught some flack after predictive texting changed a hashtag in a rather serious news-related tweet, referring to "#RajoyMariquita" instead of the correct hashtag of "#RajoyMariano." While the word actually means "ladybug," "Mariquita" is used as a colloquial slang term in Spain to refer to a gay person, and generally translates to the English slang terms "fairy" or "poof." Unfortunately no one noticed the error at the time and naturally the tweet did the rounds of the Twittersphere causing some amusement.

The tweet was sent to advise Efe's followers that Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, who is currently away trying to increase business in China, had sent condolences to French President Francois Hollande in reference to the recent beheading by jihadists in Algeria of Frenchman Herve Gourdel, and the tweet read as follows:


However, the tweet was noticed and caused a certain amount of scandal and some humor due to the choice of hashtag. Some of the results of this humor are still coming in, in the form of tweets and memes, and can be seen here and here Blaming predictive text, a spokesperson for Efe quickly apologized to both its followers and also to Prime Minister Rajoy for the rather unfortunate error as follows:

"EFE Noticias @EFEnoticias 
EFE pide disculpas a sus seguidores y al presidente Mariano Rajoy por una etiqueta ofensiva generada, por error, en la lista de sugerencias."

or in English: "EFE apologizes to its followers and Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy for an offensive label generated, by mistake, in the list of suggestions."

Rajoy's Twitter feed soon sent a reply, thanking Efe for their professionalism and the apology.

Rather ironically, however, it seems the erroneous hashtag has become rather popular as, when composing a new tweet starting by typing "#Rajoy," predictive text comes up with that controversial hashtag at position numero uno.