If you’re in the market for a secondhand lightsaber hilt, Facebook can be a promising buying and selling platform. Many lightsaber-themed Facebook Groups include sales listings of secondhand lightsabers. Oftentimes a lightsaber is bewilderingly referred to as a “burrito” in the sales post title and description. Why? The answer relates to the Facebook algorithm.
In recent years, Facebook has been criticized for serving as a conduit for fake news, hate speech, illegal activities, and other unsavory endeavors. As a result, the company has tweaked its algorithm multiple times. What does this have to do with lightsabers? The current Facebook sales post algorithm frequently flags lightsaber sales posts as prohibited content.
Selling lightsabers on Facebook is allowed, but selling real life weapons on Facebook is strictly prohibited. Unfortunately some common lightsaber titles and descriptions make lightsabers sound like a real life weapon (e.g. “blade” or “weapon” or “hilt” or “sword” or “saber”). If the Facebook algorithm determines the post is for the sale of weapons, Facebook may flag the content as inappropriate and remove the post.
In order to circumvent the strict Facebook algorithm, lightsaber sellers often remove any terms from a listing that sound even remotely like a weapon. Here’s where the burrito comes in. Some sellers have taken to calling a lightsaber a burrito as a euphemism in order to avoid the post getting removed. Burritos aside, lightsaber sellers use many other stand-in words for lightsabers as well including: taco, chimichanga, glowstick, flashlight, glow tube, etc.
Burrito or otherwise, it’s unclear why the first sellers started referring to lightsabers as any type of food item. Maybe the sellers reasoned that a lightsaber was a similar size to a burrito. Maybe the sellers were just hungry at the time they wrote the post. Either way, until Facebook can improve it’s sales post flagging algorithm, burritos are here to stay.