Apple blocked some searches with the word “Asian,” and now it’s getting fixed

Apple’s built-in web content filter for iOS and macOS has apparently been blocking any searches containing the word “Asian” for almost a year, and the error is finally getting fixed, according to a new report from Mashable. The issue shows up when you’re using a device that has the “Limit Adult Websites” content restriction turned on. But it’s not just blocking adult websites; it’s blocking almost any searches relating to Asian culture, including “Asian market,” “Asian culture,” and even “stop Asian hate.”

The Verge was able to confirm that the above searches were blocked on devices running current versions of Apple’s software (iPadOS 14.4.1 and macOS 11.2.3) with the content restrictions turned on. The searches are blocked on both Safari and Chrome on iOS devices, but Chrome was able to perform them on macOS. Devices without the content restrictions turned on can perform the searches and receive results.

The error message shown when a search is blocked by the content restrictions on an iPad.

The good news is that the issue should soon be resolved. The searches work on devices running the iOS 14.5 beta, Mashable reports. Still, it’s ridiculous that it took this long to fix: there are reports of the issue from February 2020, and it shouldn’t have been an issue in the first place. Of course, creating a filter for adult content is extremely difficult, but almost entirely blocking a word used to describe 60 percent of the world’s population is obviously incorrect.

In current, non-beta software, the filter behaves very strangely. “Asian restaurants” is blocked on macOS but not iOS, while “Asian food” is blocked on both. And while the issue has been around for a while, it’s especially embarrassing for Apple in the current moment, when anti-Asian sentiment and violence have been on the rise. It’s good to see it should be solved in the next versions of iOS, but it shouldn’t have taken this long.

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