Apple’s ‘adult’ content filters block users from searching word “Asian”


Parental controls are a great way to keep your child’s internet browsing safe and clean. Unfortunately, it appears that Apple has gone a little too far in the quest for a dirt-free internet experience. In iOS 14, users with the “limit adult websites” privacy option turned on will be barred from seeing any content with the word “Asian” in the URL.

That’s right. With the setting turned on, you’re blocked from searching “Asian” from any browser on your Apple device. Not just the word on its own either. “Asian food”, “Asian politics”, “Asian beaches”, “Asian companies”, all of it is off-limits.

Apparently, the “limit adult websites” setting prevents users from searching using terms that are popular pornographic categories, like “mature” or “teen”. Curiously, other racial terms, like “Korean”, “French”, and so on, are not restricted like “Asian” is. Furthermore, the setting appears to only affect iPads and iPhones in this way. Mac computers running macOS can still view search results for “Asian” with “limit adult websites” enabled.

According to The Independent, iOS developer Steven Shen first brought the issue to light. In a tweet, Shen says that he reported the issue to Apple “a long time ago”, but has received no response from the company. He doesn’t believe that someone may have coded this in intentionally, rather that it is the result of an AI slip-up.

Still, it’s distressing to see the word “Asian” deemed an inappropriate search term, even by an AI mishap. It points towards the fetishisation of people based on ethnicity in the porn industry. Kate Isaacs, the founder of NotYourPorn who raises awareness of injustice in adult entertainment, told The Independent, “It’s upsetting that an Asian person could be searching for representation completely innocently online, only to find that tech companies see them solely as something NSFW.”

This, apparently, isn’t the first time Apple’s content filters have been janky. Previously, you couldn’t search for “safe sex” with filters turned on, but could still visit a neo-Nazi news site or search for steps on joining a terrorist group. Hopefully, the newest content filter blunder gets patched out soon.

(Source: The Independent)


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