Facebook Omits Israeli Flag From 2016 Rio Olympics Page

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The Rio 2016 Facebook feature, after Israel's addition.
The Rio 2016 Facebook feature, after Israel's addition.Credit: Screenshot

Facebook omitted the Israeli flag from its list of countries participating in the 2016 Summer Olympics on a special page in honor of the opening of the games in Rio de Janeiro on Friday.

The Olympic Committee of Israel sent a letter to Facebook on Thursday asking it to correct the error. The company said it was dealing with the issue, and it had been fixed by Thursday afternoon.

The special section includes an icon of the Olympic torch that, when clicked, gives the user access to a set of tools Facebook developed in the games’ honor. One of those tools allows the user to add a frame with participating countries’ flags to pictures or videos that he posts to Facebook. The tool uses the MSQRD app, which Facebook purchased.

But the Ynet website reported that Israeli surfers soon noticed the Israeli flag was missing from the menu that enables users to select a flag to include in their frame. Instead of Israel, the English-language list offered “independent athletes,” while the Hebrew-language list offered nothing at all.

The Olympic Committee of Israel confirmed Ynet’s report. Committee spokeswoman Bruria Bigman told Haaretz that the panel began getting complaints from surfers Wednesday evening about the absence of Israel’s flag. The committee then sent an urgent letter to Facebook asking it to fix the problem before Thursday afternoon's update. 

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