In response to a user complaint, an Argentina-based start-up has dropped a question about Palestine, a country that does not currently exist, from its mobile game, and has apologized for seemingly having written Israel out of the region.
Trivia Crack said its publisher, Etermax, gets its quiz questions from online contributors – meaning that “every once in a while certain malicious users will find a way around it. In these rare cases our staff takes care of it immediately.”
The response came after a query by The Times of Israel about a question that was noticed by an Israeli player of Trivia Crack, Etermax’s Trivial Pursuit-style mobile game.
Like its board game model, Trivia Crack consists of questions in six knowledge categories: Entertainment, Art, Sports, History, Science and Geography. Users spin a virtual wheel, and when the app lands on a category, it presents players with a question on that category. If they get it wrong, the question is presented to an online opponent chosen at random.
The offending question showed up when a player chose the Geography category, with the app flashing a question reading “Which countries surround Palestine?” The player was presented with four choices: “Jordan, Syria, and Egypt,” “Iran, Lebanon, and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” “Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and Egypt,” or “Syria and Lebanon.”
Israel was nowhere to be seen.
An alert player questioned the question. “As any geopolitical expert can tell you, there is currently no ‘Palestine’; the official name of the areas in the West Bank and Gaza not under Israeli jurisdiction is the ‘Palestinian Authority,’” wrote the player. “Also if one were to consider [the West Bank and Gaza] as Palestine one would expect to see Israel as a country in the area.”
The question as stated was not a challenge to the existence of Israel, the Trivia Crack team said – but a mistake.
“We would like to apologize personally for the recent inaccurate and ill-disposed content that has surfaced,” the company said. “The original poster of the question has been dealt with and removed from the game, as well as the question itself.
“Here at Trivia Crack we constantly strive to maintain an atmosphere appropriate for everyone. Before entering the Question Factory to create a question, a notice appears warning that any user submitting offensive content will be blocked from the game,” it added. “Our users’ input is invaluable to the game, and we urge you to continue to report any offensive or inaccurate content you may see.”