Apple’s Screen Time blocks URLs mentioning ‘Asian’, reveals iOS developer
The same block doesn't happen for other terms such as black, white, Arab, Korean or French.
If you have been using Apple's Screen Time feature on iPhones, you must be aware that the feature provides ways how you can limit accessing content on iOS and iPadOS devices. It also aims to let younger users enjoy the device without accessing objectionable or adult content. However, it looks like the feature needs attention by Apple. According to some users on social media, the Screen Time content restriction includes a feature that blocks ULRs that have the term ‘Asian' in it.
This was brought to light by a tweet (via Apple Insider) from an iOS developer, Stephen Shen on Thursday. Shen claimed that the limited adult website option under the content restriction section of Screen Time caused problems for users who wanted to access a website containing the word ‘Asian' in the URL through Safari browser.
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On iOS, if you turn on “Limit Adult Website” under Screen Time->Content Restrictions, Safari blocks any website URL containing the word “asian”. Seriously, go try it, it's unbelievable. I filed a Feeback a long time ago. Nothing changed. Please RT for visibility. @AppleSupport— Steven Shen (@Stevenpotato) February 3, 2021
While the feature doesn't allow you to access the URLs that use the term ‘Asian', according to a report by The Independent the same block doesn't happen for other terms such as ‘black', ‘white', ‘Arab', ‘Korean' or ‘French'.
It is speculated that this term might be used as a category on adult websites. Shen added that he filed a report with Apple back in December 2019 regarding this. However, the problem stays in iOS and iPadOS. Apple doesn't disclose how it determines words to be filtered. However, Shen believes that this might be something that is not manual and has been added because of the AI.
This is not the first time that Apple users are facing an issue with a filtering system. When parental controls were introduced in iOS 12, they had some teething issues. Reports mentioned that some children were able to see violent and pornographic content, while blocking resources related to sex education and sexual assault hotlines. In 2014 Apple's iTunes radio allowed songs with explicit language to stream to users who have blocked it by default.