Many Americans have become used to Twitter and Facebook censoring or adding warning labels to their social media posts. Now, Microsoft is attempting to curtail thought crimes before they even get saved by the offender. To do so, Microsoft has added a “woke” filter, to help writers remove any words that may offend or trigger their audiences. The Daily Mail reports:
Microsoft has rolled out a new ‘inclusiveness’ spellchecker for the latest version of Office 365 which highlights text and offers politically correct alternatives to phrases it perceives to be ‘problematic’.
Microsoft’s Windows is the most widely used computer operating system in the world, accounting for almost 70 per cent of the market across desktop, tablets, and consoles in December 2021, and has long offered a spelling, punctuation and grammar checking function across its suite of Office programmes.
But the tech giant has developed an additional feature which reviews a user’s work and decides whether the language used could be potentially offensive.
The function produces a purple line beneath words or phrases it deems problematic while offering more ‘inclusive’ alternatives, and is included on the Office 365 version of Microsoft Word from 2019 onwards.
Microsoft has released a statement in which it recognised that the inclusivity spellchecker may not be suitable for all scenarios and stressed that users can choose to turn the checker off at any point to be in control of their final output.
The company drew criticism when senior employees at the annual Microsoft Ignite conference in November made a point of announcing each participants’ race, gender, pronouns and appearances and acknowledged the indigenous land on which the company was built in Washington State.
The new spellcheck function has been rolled out across the latest version of Microsoft Word in Office 365, which users access via a yearly subscription.
The inclusivity spellchecker is only included in the version of Word that comes with a Office 365 subscription, so users with a standalone version of Office 2019 or an earlier version of Office will not be affected.
After highlighting the inclusivity issue, Word’s new functionality will suggest more acceptable alternatives – which includes discarding ‘blacklist’ and ‘whitelist’ in favour of ‘accepted list or ‘allowed list’.
The function also suggests changing ‘postman’ to ‘postal worker’ and altering Neil Armstrong’s famous moon-landing quote from ‘one giant leap for mankind’, to ‘humankind’ or ‘humanity’ instead.
Other examples of the spellchecker’s woke suggestions reported by The Sun are ‘maid’ (Word suggests ‘house cleaner’), ‘showgirl’ (‘dancer’ or ‘performing artist’), ‘headmaster’ (‘principal’), ‘mistress’ (‘lover’), ‘master’ (‘expert’), and ‘manpower’ (‘workforce’).
The spellchecker also took exception to Mrs Thatcher – stipulating that the former British Prime Minister should in fact be referred to as ‘Ms’ Thatcher.
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