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NBC News blames Facebook post with Kevin Hart image on Usain Bolt story on 'technical error'

NBC News blames Facebook post with Kevin Hart image on Usain Bolt story on 'technical error'
© Getty Images

NBC News issued a correction on social media and apologized on Tuesday after it published a story on Facebook reporting that Usain Bolt tested positive for coronavirus with a photo of comedian Kevin Hart.

The post, which went live on Tuesday morning, was updated to have the photo of Hart removed less than hour after it was published. The post currently shows a picture of the Olympic gold medalist in addition to a correction blaming the mishap on a “technical error.”

“Correction: Due to a technical error, the social image on this post mistakenly featured a photo of comedian Kevin Hart,” the correction states. "In the content management system, a social image was not selected, and the system reverted to an image of Hart from an unrelated video. The display image has been corrected.”

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Though the post has been updated on the network’s Facebook page, many of the post's recent shares still feature the original image of Hart as the thumbnail.

The post racked up more than 50,000 shares on Facebook.

The mishap also has not gone unnoticed on Twitter.

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Hart responded to the mishap in an Instagram post later on Tuesday.

“No comment ..... I must of gotten really fast & tall overnight.... I want to take advantage of this moment & race anybody in the world. We can bet whatever .... Shit just got real. I am also no longer doing comedy due to my Olympic training schedule,” he said in the post.

“P.S this is Disrespectful on so many levels....All you can do is laugh. Maybe the Covid 19 shrunk his legs & torso,” he added.

NBC News apologized to the comedian in a tweet Tuesday afternoon, saying: “Very sorry about that @KevinHart4real – bad technical glitch in how photos show up on Facebook.”

It's unclear why many of the recent shares still feature the original image of Hart, despite the initial post being updated.

Timothy Burke, a former video director at Deadspin, tweeted later on Tuesday that the issue appeared to be a Facebook glitch, adding that a similar mishap happened when he worked at the sports blog years back.

“Ppl are burning NBC today because Facebook pulled a thumb of Kevin Hart for its story on Usain Bolt. That's not NBC's fault; Facebook has had a bug for several years that can pull an image from a related story on the page and insist on it being the header. It happened to us!” he said in the tweet, which also featured a screenshot of an apparent Facebook post from Deadspin that promoted a 2015 story about Tom Brady that showed the wrong image.

The Hill has reached out to Facebook for comment.

--This report was updated at 5:30 p.m.