Bing search engine and its parent U.S.-based company Microsoft are coming under fire from users in Saudi Arabia after it was shown that Bing translated “Daesh,” the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State group, to “Saudi Arabia.”
Angry Saudis took to Twitter using an Arabic hashtag that translates to “Microsoft Insults Saudi’ where many were calling for boycotting the search engine and Microsoft.
Meanwhile, Mamdouh Najjar, a senior official in Saudi’s branch of Microsoft, apologized for the “unintentional error” and said in a tweet Aug. 26 that the translation was fixed.
He told Huffington Post Arabi last that the error could have happened as a result of the user suggestion method the company uses to update meanings of words across languages.
Najjar said a change in the meaning of a word happens when more than 1,000 people submit the same translation suggestion for it, prompting the algorithm to automatically choosing it as the preferred translation.
Saudi Arabia itself has been called out by the Islamic State group as an illegitimate and apostate state that does not adhere to Islam’s rule of law.
However, Saudi Arabia has one of the most extreme interpretations of Islamic law rooted in the country’s Wahhabi school of law which in fact it shares with the Islamic State group.
Saudi Arabia and the extremist groups both share the beheading method for executions, the same laws regarding women and the fact that they are treated as minors their whole lives, as well as seeing anyone who does not adhere to the Sunni Wahabi version of Islam as an apostate who must be killed.
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