Facebook apologizes for declaring the Philippines at war

© ThePhilippineSTAR
Facebook apologized Tuesday for accidentally declaring the Philippines is at war.

Apparently unaware of the old tradition that an upside-down flag indicates a state of war, employees at the social media site created a Happy Independence Day message for its users in the Philippines with the offending image.

“Here’s to all of the Philippines’ health, happiness and prosperity,” it read.

Filipinos spotted the mistake and were quick to point out that the flag was only ever shown upside down in times of war, as stipulated in the country’s Flag and Heraldic Code.

“This was unintentional, and we’re sorry. We care deeply about the community in the Philippines and, in an attempt to connect people on Independence Day, we made a mistake," Facebook said in a statement sent to the Philippine Star.

Some social media users said that the flag was a subtle nod to the country’s territorial dispute with China in the West Philippine Sea or the government’s crackdown on crime, the Star reports.

This isn’t the first time the Philippines’ flag has been shown in its wartime state. The US accidentally mixed up the colors during a meeting with President Barack Obama and a number of Asian leaders in New York in 2010. The US apologized, calling it an “honest mistake.”

This May, Chinese sailors were detained after they flew the flag upside down while sailing off the northern coast of the Philippines, reported AFP.