Social media networking site Facebook on Friday apologised and said that it had disabled its topic recommendation feature after a video of black men was labelled as one featuring “primates”, reported AFP.

Users who watched the video received an automated prompt, which asked them if they would want to “keep seeing videos about primates”, according to The New York Times, which first reported about the feature.

In zoology, a primate is defined as a group that includes over 500 species, including monkeys and apes. Humans also fall under this category.

Facial recognition technology has for long been criticised by civil rights activists for not identifying non-white faces.

Facebook asked users if they want to see more clips about primates under a video dated June 27, 2020, posted by The Daily Mail. The video was not related to monkeys or primates.

The video was titled “white man calls cops on black men at marina” and showed how a white man got the police to arrest a black man from his home after the white man claimed that he had been harassed.

On Friday, Facebook said it has disabled the recommendation after the error occurred, which a company spokesperson described as “clearly unacceptable”.

“We apologise to anyone who may have seen these offensive recommendations,” Facebook told AFP. “We disabled the entire topic recommendation feature as soon as we realised this was happening so we could investigate the cause and prevent this from happening again.”

The incident came to light after a former Facebook employee said that a friend had sent her a screenshot of the recommendation on the platform, according to The New York Times.

On Thursday, the employee tweeted the screenshot and tagged Facebook saying that the prompt was unacceptable. “And despite the video being more than a year old, a friend got this prompt yesterday [Wednesday],” she said. “Friends at FB, please escalate. This is egregious.”