Microsoft’s Saudi Arabian Vice President has issued an apology after the translation tool for its search engine, Bing, translated “Daesh” into “Saudi Arabia”.
Daesh is an Arabic acronym for the Islamic State, also known as ISIS.
“As an employee of [Microsoft], I apologise personally to the great Saudi people and this country, dear to all our hearts, for this unintentional mistake,” said Microsoft’s Vice President for Saudi Arabia, Dr. Mamdouh Najjar.
The error prompted huge backlash among Saudi Arabian citizens, who have attempted to start a boycott against the company.
“Shame on you,” posted one account, tagging Bing, along with a video showing the wrong translation.
— ibrahim abdullah (@hemo53578) August 25, 2016
Another account argued that if people were going to change the meaning of Daesh to Saudi Arabia, they would change the name of America to “The Hell of America”.
اسماء الدول لايمكن قبول مقترح لتغير معناها هل بالامكان تغير كلمه امريكا الى The country of Hell
— علي|Aliq76ani (@aliq76ani) August 26, 2016
Dr. Najjar stated that the error was likely due to Bing’s “crowdsourced translations,” which allow the public to make contributions to their translation databases.