Microsoft swaps black man for white man

Posted on August 28, 2009

 

black_for_white_126761aThere are certain mistakes that you can get away with and brush under the carpet, and then there are those that will haunt you for the rest of your life thanks to the way news spreads virally on the Internet and particularly on Twitter. Microsoft has just made one of the latter mistakes.

In a faux pas of epic proportions, Microsoft has Photoshopped an image from its website to remove the face of a black man, replacing him with the face of a white man.

It seems Microsoft removed a black face and replaced it with a white face. The reason? The image is for their Polish website and Poland has an almost entirely white population.

It sounds like a reasonable explanation, however would it not have just been easier to use a different image? This is assuming of course that Microsoft could have found any images in their extensive collection that weren’t perfectly divided up to suit their idea of representing ethnic minorities. All of Microsoft’s photography seems to include 33% blacks or Asians, almost as though it were some algorithm or calculation.

Microsoft has now apologised for ethnically cleansing its Polish website, with a statement that read:

We apologise and are in the process of pulling down the image. We are looking into the details of this situation. Diversity and inclusion are core values and business imperatives of Microsoft, and we apologise for any offence that might have been taken.

The action was noticed on Twitter, and quickly spread virally throughout the Internet to social networking websites, blogs and forums.  Online reputation can be difficult to manage and this is just one example of how a single mistake can spread so quickly.

One commenter added:

This is a disgrace and Microsoft should be ashamed. Why, in this day and age, are we allowing countries, individuals and hate groups to look upon minorities (blacks or any other race) as something bad?

If you look closer at the image you’ll notice a few more errors. For example, the black/white man is using a Mac book, despite this being a Microsoft ad image. Also, why was the black man removed when the Asian man wasn’t?

You might also notice that in the Photoshopped photo, the new white man still has a black hand… attention to detail Microsoft!

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