WARNING: This story contains language that some may find offensive. Please read at your own discretion.
Did you hear? The Bitche is back on social media.
Facebook has restored the official community page for Bitche, France, after an algorithm mistakenly banned the town for profanity last month.
Facebook slapped the Bitche community with a ban on March 19, in what appears to have been a case of mistaken identity. The town’s name closely resembles an English word for a female dog, though it has an extra “e” at the end.
Facebook told the Guardian that the page was removed due to an incorrect analysis by its systems.
“The name of our town seems to suffer from a bad interpretation,” Mayor Benoit Kieffer said in a news release on Tuesday, after the Ville de Bitche page was restored.
Kieffer was one of the many civic daughters and sons of Bitche who fought to get their community page back online.
“The most astonishing thing is that Facebook took so long to correct this,” he wrote.
“The president/director general of Facebook France has just contacted me personally to tell me the Ville de Bitche page is published again and to apologize for the inconvenience caused.”
Bitche is a community of 5,000 people — who call themselves the Bitchois — in northeastern France, near the border with Germany. The town is primarily known for the Citadel of Bitche, an 800-year-old French fortress that sits atop a hill.
The citadel has been the site of many sieges over the centuries, and Germany has taken Bitche for itself on multiple occasions. Nazi Germany last held control of Bitche and the surrounding area of Lorraine during most of the Second World War.
The community was eventually liberated in 1944 by Allied troops — including some who adopted the nickname “Sons of Bitche” afterward.
Bitche isn’t the only town with a seemingly vulgar name in Europe. There was a time when one could drive from Bitche, France to Fucking, Austria, some 415 kilometres to the east.
The town changed its name to Fugging last year, in large part due to the frequent theft of its road signs.
Mayor Kieffer did not raise the possibility of changing his town’s own name on Tuesday.
In other words, there are no plans to kill its vibe. It will remain 100 per cent that Bitche.
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