safari iconApple has removed a number of results from Siri Suggested Websites after BuzzFeed highlighted several examples of the feature offering up "debunked conspiracies, shock videos, and false information."

Siri Suggested Websites is an optional feature in Safari that serves up auto-completed suggestions based on what the user starts typing into the browser's search bar. Results are curated by Apple and can include links sourced from things like Wikipedia, YouTube, and the iTunes Store.

Basically, BuzzFeed News stoked controversy by pointing out that if users typed in, say, "Pizzagate," the Siri feature would return links to YouTube videos by conspiracy theorist peddler David Seaman. From the article:

"Such results raise questions about the company's ability to monitor for low-quality information, and provide another example of the problems platforms run into when relying on algorithms to police the internet."

Incidentally, the link didn't actually work because YouTube previously removed the video for violating YouTube's terms of service. So whichever way you look at it, Apple's algorithm-driven suggestions aren't doing their job very well.

BuzzFeed informed Apple of this and several other "low quality" Siri Suggestions highlighted in the article, and Apple has since removed them. The company also provided the site with the following statement:

"Siri Suggested Websites come from content on the web and we provide curation to help avoid inappropriate sites. We also remove any inappropriate suggestions whenever we become aware of them, as we have with these. We will continue to work to provide high-quality results and users can email results they feel are inappropriate to applebot@apple.com."

The questionable Siri Suggestions are reportedly caused by a "data void," which is what happens when a term doesn't have "natural informative results" and manipulators capitalize upon it. "Many of the sites surfaced by the Siri Suggested feature came from conspiracy or junk sites hastily assembled to fill that void," BuzzFeed concludes.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Tag: Safari

Top Rated Comments

smokesletsgo Avatar
40 months ago
Apple can't solve the problem here, since there are far too many right-wing fake news sites to delete, literally millions of right-wing fake news sites, especially given that a lot of them are state funded by Russia and other enemies.

We really need a forceful and authoritarian government to end this harmful scourge, similar to what Europe does about Naziism. Pass a law banning them, similar to current libel laws, and arrest and imprison those that espouse fake news.

This will finally get rid of harmful people like the Pizza-gaters and Alex Jones at the societal level.

Remember, you don't have unlimited rights to free speech, regardless of what dumb teenage libertarians say.

Speech is limited in many, many ways, such as libel laws, copyright laws, "yelling fire in crowded theatres" etc..
What's harmfull is a lunatic calling for authoritarianism. Critical thinking, analysis, questioning things, thinking for yourself is THE WAY to dismiss "fake news", not some virtue signaling idiot at internet toilets like Buzzfeed calling for silencing and censorship, telling what's true and what's not. Are you an idiot? Do you need to be told what to read, what to think?
Score: 27 Votes (Like | Disagree)
T-Bob Avatar
40 months ago
Apple can't solve the problem here, since there are far too many right-wing fake news sites to delete, literally millions of right-wing fake news sites, especially given that a lot of them are state funded by Russia and other enemies.

We really need a forceful and authoritarian government to end this harmful scourge, similar to what Europe does about Naziism. Pass a law banning them, similar to current libel laws, and arrest and imprison those that espouse fake news.

This will finally get rid of harmful people like the Pizza-gaters and Alex Jones at the societal level.

Remember, you don't have unlimited rights to free speech, regardless of what dumb teenage libertarians say.

Speech is limited in many, many ways, such as libel laws, copyright laws, "yelling fire in crowded theatres" etc..
Great idea, free speech is only meant to be free if you agree with it anyway, I think that's what Voltaire and others were thinking of. Just need some sort of inquisition like commission to decide on the acceptable standards and we're gold.

(yes this isn't serious)
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
err404 Avatar
40 months ago
I’m fine with filtering spam and fraud. My issue here is that even when users are intentionally looking for fringe information like “pizzagate”, they are be going to be denied results.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
miniyou64 Avatar
40 months ago
Low quality information? Buzzfeed is the definition of low quality information.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
NufSaid Avatar
40 months ago
Those who want some speech blocked will one day wake up and find it will be their own.
[doublepost=1537973041][/doublepost]Wondering if Apple will block CNN and MSNBC (Left wing fake news sites) as well.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Porco Avatar
40 months ago
This isn’t any obstacle to free speech, in fact it’s entirely in support of it in a way - Apple’s free speech in choosing what not to suggest. We are still all free to search for whatever we like, there’s just certain things Apple doesn’t want Siri to suggest.

If you believe in free speech, I would presume you wouldn’t want others telling you what you must say any more than what you can’t say - so why should we be telling Apple what Siri must suggest?

When your/my/our government, which (in a democracy) represents the people bans searches across all means of searching - that is a free speech issue, both in terms of hearing it and expressing it.

When a private company we have chosen to buy products from chooses to not include certain suggestions in an already-curated selection - that is free speech in action. It is Apple being free to say what they want to suggest, and not being forced to suggest what they don’t want to.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

studio buds family

Beats Studio Buds Debuting Today With Active Noise Cancellation, Stemless Design, and More for $150

Monday June 14, 2021 8:00 am PDT by
We've seen a lot of teasers about the Beats Studio Buds over the past month since they first showed up in Apple's beta software updates, and today they're finally official. The Beats Studio Buds are available to order today in red, white, and black ahead of a June 24 ship date, and they're priced at $149.99. The Studio Buds are the first Beats-branded earbuds to truly compete with AirPods...
os x mountain lion macs 16x9 2

Apple Makes OS X Lion and Mountain Lion Free to Download

Wednesday June 30, 2021 12:19 pm PDT by
Apple recently dropped the $19.99 fee for OS X Lion and Mountain Lion, making the older Mac updates free to download, reports Macworld. Apple has kept OS X 10.7 Lion and OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion available for customers who have machines limited to the older software, but until recently, Apple was charging $19.99 to get download codes for the updates. As of last week, these updates no...
iPhone 13 Dummy Thumbnail 2

Kuo: iPhone 13 to Feature LEO Satellite Communications to Make Calls and Texts Without Cellular Coverage

Sunday August 29, 2021 7:39 am PDT by
The iPhone 13 will feature low earth orbit (LEO) satellite communication connectivity to allow users to make calls and send messages in areas without 4G or 5G coverage, according to the reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In a note to investors, seen by MacRumors, Kuo explained that the iPhone 13 lineup will feature hardware that is able to connect to LEO satellites. If enabled with the relevant...
youtube apple tv

YouTube Discontinuing 3rd-Generation Apple TV App, AirPlay Still Available

Wednesday February 3, 2021 3:09 pm PST by
YouTube is planning to stop supporting its YouTube app on the third-generation Apple TV models, where YouTube has long been available as a channel option. A 9to5Mac reader received a message about the upcoming app discontinuation, which is set to take place in March.Starting early March, the YouTube app will no longer be available on Apple TV (3rd generation). You can still watch YouTube on...
General Apps Messages

Android iMessage Competitor Puts Pressure on Apple

Friday July 30, 2021 3:15 am PDT by
Google and the three major U.S. carriers, including Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile, will all support a new communications protocol on Android smartphones starting in 2022, a move that puts pressure on Apple to adopt a new cross-platform messaging standard and may present a challenge to iMessage. Verizon recently announced that it is planning to adopt Messages by Google as its default messaging...
bluetti eb70 main

MacRumors Giveaway: Win a Bluetti EB70 Portable Power Station and 200W Solar Panel

Friday September 3, 2021 11:13 am PDT by
For this week's giveaway, we've teamed up with MAXOAK to offer MacRumors readers a chance to win a Bluetti portable power station and an accompanying solar panel. Bluetti makes a range of portable power station options that are useful for camping, emergencies, power outages, off-grid living, and similar situations. The Bluetti EB70 is a solid middle of the road option that offers 716Wh and...
personal hotspot 1

Apple Acknowledges Personal Hotspot Issues Affecting Some iOS 13 and iPadOS 13 Users

Saturday March 21, 2020 10:04 am PDT by
In an internal document distributed to Apple Authorized Service Providers this week, obtained by MacRumors, Apple has acknowledged that some iOS 13 or iPadOS 13 users may experience issues with Personal Hotspot. Apple has told Authorized Service Providers to expect customers who are unable to connect to a Personal Hotspot or experience frequent disconnection from one. Customers may also...
iphone 13 teal with text

Apple Begins Preparation for iPhone 13 Production Ahead of Fall Launch

Monday June 28, 2021 3:29 am PDT by
We're just a few months away from when Apple is expected to reveal the 2021 iPhone, dubbed the "iPhone 13." In preparation for its launch, it has been pulling in shipments of different components needed to produce the new iPhones, according to a report from DigiTimes. In years past, Apple released its latest iPhone lineup, alongside a new Apple Watch, during a September event at Apple Park....
General Spotify Feature

Spotify Partners With Delta to Provide Free In-Flight Music and Podcasts Service

Thursday September 2, 2021 12:59 am PDT by
Spotify has announced a new partnership with Delta that will see the streaming service take over the "audio" section of Delta's in-flight seatback entertainment, making select playlists and podcasts freely available to all passengers. You are now free to roam about the cabin—and get the music and podcasts you love at 30,000 feet. Beginning today, we're taking off in a new partnership with...