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Apex Legends bans player for using Japanese word “nigero” (it’s not racist)

The problem with algorithmic censorship.

A Japanese Apex Legends player has now been banned from the game for a week for being accused of using “hateful” language. But all he did was ask his team to back off in his mother tongue, Japanese.

The word he used was “nigero,” which is made up of two terms “nige” which is close to the English phrase “run away” and “ro,” known as a commanding form in verbs.

But the Apex chat filter did not approve of the term, assuming it was a reference to the notorious, racist English term for referring to a black individual.

Source: Reddit

A chat filter, simply put, is a program that filters certain words which may be offensive or attacking for some, generally by placing an asterisk or using gibberish. In some cases, though, a chat filter may even ban players for using a select few words.

The term “nigero” in Japanese is not a racist one. It is also worth noting that the character Octane from the game utters the word “nigero” as he throws a grenade. But now, a player is banned from playing the game because he uttered the very same word.

The unfair ban resulted in several gamers complaining about how such problems arise because of developers’ arrogance. They say developers only take the English language into consideration when developing such critical features.

Apex Legends, moreover, is not the only game where issues related to chat filters and in-game censorship exist.

With companies such as Intel developing programs to censor “offensive,” toxic, or hurtful language in voice chats, in-game censorship and unfair punishments might only increase. Named as “Bleep,” Intel’s AI program is being trained to identify and remove “hurtful” words in audio conversations on in-game chats.

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