Apple has removed references to questionable online content this week from Safari's "Siri-suggested websites" feature after a survey where the service surfaced and video related to conspiracy theories, "fake news" and other sensational items.
Recently Safari presented prominently links to low-quality websites, YouTube videos & # 39; s and other sources of unreliable information in initiating a search for popular conspiracies such as "Pizzagate" and QAnon, BuzzFeed reports.
Like other web browsers, Apple Safari automatically compensates for search suggestions for ease of use. The function, called the website proposed by Siri, not only completes the input of the search bar, but presumes that the user intends to provide a link to a web page. These suggestions appear above search engine results in a drop-down menu.
For exle, BuzzFeed saw a search for "Pizzagate" the YouTube video "PIZZAGATE, BIGGEST SCANDAL EVER !!!" from conspiracy theorist David Seaman. The video did not play because the Seaman channel was removed for violating YouTube's terms of service, but its appearance as a website proposed by Siri questions Apple's algorithms.
Other examples of dubious suggestions spotted by the publication relate to QAnon, deniers of the Holocaust, racist propaganda, inaccurate information against vaccines and links to the Alex Jones Infowars site. In one test, the term "Hillary Clinton murder" represented a website proposed by Siri, dedicated to describing an alleged FBI cover-up of the death of former White House adviser, Vince Foster.
After being presented BuzzFeed & # 39; s findings Apple removed the reference to the low-quality pages. From this moment on, a search for "Pizzagate" users now refers to a "Siri Knowledge" suggestion for a Wikipedia message about the Pizzagate conspiracy theory.
"Proposed Siri websites come from content on the web and we provide information about how to prevent inappropriate sites," Apple said in a statement. "We also remove any inappropriate suggestions every time we become aware of this, as we have done with them." We will continue to work to deliver high-quality results, and users can e-mail results that they feel are inappropriate for firstname.lastname@example.org. "
In the current climate of & # 39; fake news & # 39; and the spread of misinformation through social media and sites like Infowars, technical companies have come under increasing pressure to become information portkeepers. This is especially true for companies using web browsers and search engines.
Google is an excellent expression of the movement. In the past the company was confronted with criticism for the algorithmic promotion of inappropriate websites, especially those run by Holocaust deniers. Apple now comes under the same control in its practices.
According to the report, the issue is partly due to a "data void" surrounding certain search terms. When a term & # 39; natural informative results & # 39; missing, those who want to manipulate the system can bring websites together to fill the void, making algorithms for gaming suggestions used by Apple and Google.