Little Mix singer Jade Thirlwall called out MSN this week for confusing her with fellow mixed-race bandmate Leigh-Anne Pinnock in a recent article, just days after she opened up about the racist bullying she endured as a teenager due to her Arabic heritage.
Microsoft’s AI editor posted a story about the racism the singer, whose maternal grandfather is Yemeni and maternal grandmother is Egyptian, experienced in high school on the search site MSN.com, but mistakenly used a photo of her bandmate, Pinnock.
The 27-year-old took to her Instagram Stories to call out the error, writing: “MSN if you’re going to copy and paste articles from other accurate media outlets, you might want to make sure you’re using an image of the correct mixed race member of the group.”
The British-born star added that this isn’t the first time that the two singers have been confused for one another.
“This [redacted] happens to @leighannepinnock and I ALL THE TIME that it’s become a running joke… It offends me that you couldn’t differentiate the two women of color out of four members of a group … DO BETTER! (sic)”
According to The Guardian, the mix-up was down to Microsoft’s artificial intelligence software.
A spokesperson for Microsoft spoke to the publication about the cause of the error, saying: “Whilst removing bias and improving accuracy remain an area of focus for AI research, this mistake was not a result of these issues.
“In testing a new feature to select an alternate image, rather than defaulting to the first photo, a different image on the page of the original article was paired with the headline of the piece. This made it erroneously appear as though the headline was a caption for the picture.
“As soon as we became aware of this issue, we immediately took action to resolve it, replaced the incorrect image and turned off this new feature.”