Talk about a "social" blunder. Last week, travel marketers noticed a bug in Facebook's software that briefly snared the social marketing campaigns of major brands like Royal Caribbean International.
Exhibit A: GoXplore Sweden, a listings site for work and travel opportunities abroad, saw its Facebook brand page suddenly spotlight a link labeled "Royal Caribbean International". (See screenshot.)
A similar recategorization to RCI happened to Facebook pages run by Kilroy Denmark (an adventure travel site), STA Travel Norge (the Norwegian outpost of the STA global youth travel agency), and more than a thousand other companies.
To be clear, GoXplore and the other companies are all legitimate, innocent players in this drama. It was a coding hiccup on the Facebook's part that caused the mis-categorization.
Tnooz contacted Facebook about the problem on Friday, and corporate spokesperson Tim Rathschmidt responded:
"This is a bug that the team discovered and is working on fixing."
As of today, the bug appears to have been squashed.
Facebook didn't elaborate on the nature of the bug.
It seems all travel agents that had categorized themselves as a “Travel Agency” had that category replaced by the category “Royal Caribbean International”. Facebook essentially replaced the right category with the RCI one, and so for a day or two, RCI actually was the category every “Travel Agency” was listed as.
During the glitch, STA Travel Norge's Facebook page was recategorized Royal Caribbean International. (See screenshot:)
The link for "Royal Caribbean International" went to a so-called Verified Page, which at the time had Royal Caribbean International's name in its canonical URL tag. This profile was not one of RCI's main brand pages.
Today the page is a generic travel agency page. It's unclear what this stub page's purpose is.
Another generic page that some companies went to was a "Topic page" for "Tour Company."
The relevant sub-categorizations are listed in the Travel and Transportation category:
Whatever the explanation (perhaps a manual input error) as of today, the problem is apparently solved.
NB: Hat tip to Samuel Daams of GoXplore.
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