FACEBOOK has apologised for banning people who mentioned the name of a Sussex beauty spot from the site.

Users on community group Brighton People were threatened with bans when they referred to Devil’s Dyke in posts, with Facebook branding it “hate speech”.

The well-known tourist attraction has attracted visitors for decades but people innocently chatting about the spot said the site threatened bans if they continued to refer to it by its name.

According to the MailOnline, Facebook has promised to look into the “clear” error.

One user claimed he was banned for 48 hours for posting a photo of a bus, which had the beauty spot’s destination displayed on the front.

He said: “I got 48 hours in Facebook jail for posting a photo of a bus.

READ MORE >> Facebook community group Brighton People shut after hack

“The destination screen clearly says ‘Devil’s Dyke’. I put on the caption heading up to The Dyke.

“That the post had been flagged up as ‘hate speech’ and has been deleted.

“As it was the second time I had been such a public menace, I won the star prize of 48 hours in the clink.

“It offered me a button to push if I thought there had been an error. I did that and ten minutes later, I had a message saying the original decision had been upheld.

“There is nowhere I can explain the context of why I used the word.”

An administrator of the group added: “Just to say, Facebook has just informed admin that a post needs to be removed, moderation alert etc because of an address in Brighton being offensive.

“The name of the road is D..e Road. I will leave it to your imagination to work out the name of the road. If I were to type it out I would be breaking rules.”

The Silicon Valley giant was forced to introduce tougher measures after it was accused of failing to deal with extremism on the site.

According to the MailOnline website, it generally uses an automated algorithm to decide what is offensive material.

A Facebook company spokesman told the paper: “We’ve clearly made a mistake here and apologise to users whose posts were affected.

The Argus: Yellow gorse blooms as cattle graze on the South Downs by Devil’s Dyke. Photo by Simon Dack

“We’re looking into what happened and will take steps to rectify the error.”

Last year, the community group was shut after its admin was hacked.

Brighton People, which has more than 57,000 Facebook members, was archived after its admin lost her account to hackers.

Jax Atkins has run the group for seven-and-a-half years.

She said: “I’m absolutely gutted, it’s really stressful.

“I’ve spent all these years running the group after building it up from nothing and so this is soul-destroying.”

Mrs Atkins said Facebook has been “useless” at helping her get it back.

When contacted, Facebook said it was actively investigating the incident.

Mrs Atkins told The Argus at the time: “I was on Facebook and suddenly it said ‘your session is up’.

“I then couldn’t sign in.

“When I tried to reset my Facebook password, I then noticed that it was giving the wrong email address.”