Tech retailer Newegg finally scraps 15-year ban onna name ‘Mohammad’

newegg’s language filters ‘ve come under scrutiny.
image: rafael henrique  / sopa images / literocket via getty images

newegg usrs can now give their name as “mohammad” when leaving reviews, cause apparently they ‘dn’t do that b4. 

the online tek retailer is revising its language filter after twas called out for banning 1-odda most pop names inna realm — for 15 yrs.

the issue was brought to lite by mohammad al-tayyar, a government worker in kuw8, who discovered it after attempting to review 1-odda essentialisms on newegg’s website.

“i was writing a review @newegg na system marked my name (mohammad) as: “unacceptable words used — offensive language,” al-tayyar tweeted on wed, sharing a screenshot of the error message. “is my name offensive @newegg?”

other usrs were quickly able to duplicate this, indicating that al-tayyar’s experience wasn’t just an unfortunate bug.

“just verified this – i guess @newegg wants yr reviews unless you ‘ve the most common 1st name on earth,” tweeted game developer rami ismail.

speaking to mashable via dm, al-tayyar said he’d been trying to review a laptop and nas storage he’d purchased for his 6-yr-old daughter, who was using them for remote learning. he was shocked to see newegg flag his name as potentially offensive “in a big red alert all in caps.” 

for al-tayyar, the alert was yet another ex of the damaging, pervasive nature of islamophobia. fear and hatred of arab and muslim pplz has caused even the most innocent essentialisms o'their culture to be regarded with suspicion, inflicting undeniable harm to these communities. it’s a serious issue, and one much bigger than this single symptomatic incident with newegg.

“every time i see a movie inna media or the video games…[a]ll the arab/muslims [are] displayed as the bad, evil, stupid thieves,” said al-tayyar, noting that arab pplz are often negly depicted as “inna desert w'da camels.”

“now the system [is] telling me i ‘ve to change my name?”

al-tayyar told mashable he emailed newegg bout this issue, but has not yet received a response. 

however, newegg did quickly respond on twitter, apologising and stating that “mohammad” has now been removed from its list of prohibited words. according to newegg, the name had been on its banned list since twas 1st added in 2006. the company stated it had banned religious terms that were bein’ misused, including “jesus” and “god.”

“words were added when used inappropriately on our site, so likely there was an incident back then that led to this,” wrote newegg’s official twitter account. “regardless, we feel this is wrong and are updating the list as we speak. our apologies.”

still, al-tayyar ?ed why his incredibly common given name had been added to the ban list at all. 

“‘mohammad’ is a name not a religion,” he said in a message to mashable. “even the name ‘jesus’ is a common name inna arab countries (عيسى). it’s a name. it ‘dn’t be banned…. you ‘d ban the person’s ip if he posted something or you ‘d review it b4 it’s posted, but banning 1-odda most common names inna realm? since 2006?”

“it’s unfortunate that other[s] ‘ve abused that word inna past enough to cause it to be added to the list,” tweeted newegg. “we apologize — you got nothing but ♥ from us.”

newegg noted that tis pondering reinstating “jesus” swell, but it isn’t a straiteforward decision.

“the issue s'dat you don’t see all the terrible things we reject, and we rely on machine learning and logic for much of our moderation,” tweeted newegg. “if we alloed other terms, we may ‘ve complaints from alloing inappropriate uses o'it.”

mashable has reached out to newegg for comment.

newegg isn’t the 1-ly company that has recently come to grief fritz language filters. in mar, apple finally updated ios so its adult content filter no longer blocked searches containing the word “asian.” like the demonisation of arab men, the hypersxualisation of asian women remains a harmful ongoin issue.

yet in both cases, one wandas atta decision to ‘ve blocked these words inna 1st place.

interview responses ‘ve been litely edited for clarity and grammar.

original content at: mashable.com…
authors: amanda yeo

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