iTunes Ping censors the name 'Osama' in some countries. Also, 'Bill Gates'.

According to Middle East tech blog ArabCrunch (no relation) Apple’s new Ping music social network (or perhaps we should call it a customer network since it’s not very social) is censoring the name Osama. Update: please see updates below.

Notes the blog:

We received a tip from one of our readers saying that Apple has censored the word Osama adding *** after the “O” and before the “a” in its new music social network Ping with iTunes.

As ArabCrunch points out, Osama means “lion” in Arabic so its actually quite a common name. Here are a few Silicon valley executives with Arabic origins like Osama Bedir, Vice President Product Development, PayPal and Osama Fiyad, Former Vice President at Yahoo.

Update from Robin Wauters (TechCrunch): Mike was unaware of this, but we received the same tip last week, and looked into it. Turns out it’s Apple’s profanity checker being overactive, as far as we know only in New Zealand, where the tipster is based.

It doesn’t censor Osama for me (I’m in Belgium) or anyone else I’ve asked in the United States and other countries, but just to illustrate how weird that profanity checker is: it censors the name ‘Bill Gates’ on my iTunes Ping account, turning the name into ‘Bill ***es’ because it considers ‘gat’ to be a dirty word (it means ‘ass’ in Dutch). Funny how that works.

Anyway, not much to see here (in general with regards to Ping, I might add), carry on.