Apple fixes Siri "flaw" that showed adoption agencies when users searched for abortion clinics

Apple fixes Siri "flaw" that showed adoption agencies when users searched for abortion clinics
Back in 2011, Apple was embroiled in a controversy that revolved around Siri. When Siri was asked to find nearby abortion clinics, the virtual assistant returned a list of adoption agencies and fertility clinics. And while Apple blamed a glitch for the problem, changes have only started showing up recently on Siri's search results.

Last month, Fast Company asked Apple's virtual assistant to find abortion clinics in the nearby San Francisco area, and nearby clinics still did not show up in the results. Instead, an adoption agency 30 miles away appeared with no information on abortion clinics hitting the screen. But that has changed in the last week or so. The results for abortion centers in some areas now list Planned Parenthood facilities, and other places that would be considered abortion providers. Adoption centers still appeared on some lists, but they showed up closer to the bottom of the results.

Some believe that the new Nearby feature on Apple Maps is at least partly responsible for adding the abortion providers to Siri's results in certain areas. Nearby, which was added in iOS 9, shows users places of interest "nearby" such as restaurants, bars, gas stations and other businesses and attractions. Under a category named "family services," Nearby lists Planned Parenthood offices. That would seem to answer the question of how the issue got fixed, but doesn't explain why the company waited so long to make sure that Siri was providing the correct search results.

The answer to that question could actually give us the answer as to why this happened in the first place. It seems that Planned Parenthood and many other abortion providers do not label themselves as such. According to the December 1 2011 Search Engine Land, "Siri’s not finding abortion clinics because Planned Parenthood and other places that perform abortions don’t call themselves that, not in their names, nor have they been associated with a category for that."

Whether you believe this explanation, or believe that Apple was using Siri to push a company-wide Pro-life view probably depends on your feelings about Apple. Interestingly, a search for abortion clinics from the Bayview District of San Francisco last week, still showed an adoption agency using Apple Maps. Google Maps listed Planned Parenthood first.


source: FastCompany via AppleInsider

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