Apple to stop blocking searches with the word ‘Asian’ in adult content filter


People demonstrating at the Stop Asian Hate march and rally in Koreatown on March 27, 2021 in the US following a shooting in Atlanta which left six Asian women dead. — AFP

Apple will be removing an adult content filter setting for iOS and macOS that blocks users from seeing any results with the word ‘Asian’ in search, according to website The Verge.

The website explained that the issue affects users using devices with ‘Limit Adult Websites’ content restriction on. Instead of getting a search result, they will see a prompt saying “You cannot browse this page at ‘google.com’ because it is restricted”.

The fix, which will allow users to see results when they search with the word ‘Asian’ even with the adult content filter on, will be available on the iOS 14.5 update later.

The fix has been spotted in iOS 14.5 beta which is not yet widely available, according to Mashable.

While the filter setting was aimed at blocking adult websites, some users discovered that it also prevented them from seeing any results related to Asian culture.

The Verge reported that the issue had previously been highlighted by a user on Twitter last year.

The user claimed that the filter blocked results for “asian hair styles” and “asian history” but allowed results for “Asian NFL” to be displayed.

In the wake of the #StopAsianHate online movement, some users discovered that the filter also prevents them from seeing any results when they search for the hashtag.

In a report by Mashable, a user on Twitter called the issue a “massive problem” as the filter equated Asians with a problematic stereotype. A user has also said the issue is “embarrassing” for Apple.

The website also reported that the terms “local Asian market” and “Asian history” were also blocked despite not being related to adult content.

The #StopAsianHate movement gained traction following the March 16 Atlanta-area spa shootings, where six out of the eight victims killed were Asian women. According to Reuters, there has been an upsurge in hate crimes against people of Asian descent across the US since the start of the pandemic in March 2020, when then-US president Donald Trump and others began referring to Covid-19 as the “China virus”.

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