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Apple’s ‘Siri Suggested’ Safari search results pushed conspiracies, fake news

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Facebook isn’t the only tech firm accused of enabling fake news and conspiracy theories.

Apple’s Safari, one of the world’s most-used web browsers, has been producing debunked conspiracies and false information via its “Siri Suggested Websites” feature, BuzzFeed News reports.

Up until Monday, if you typed Pizzagate into Safari, the browser’s “Siri Suggested Website” displayed a YouTube video with the title “PIZZAGATE, BIGGEST SCANDAL EVER!!!” by conspiracy theorist David Seaman.

As BuzzFeed notes, the video does not play because YouTube removed Seaman’s channel for violating its terms of service.

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When confronted by BuzzFeed, Apple removed all examples of the Siri Suggested sites that were laden with conspiracies and fake news.

“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,” Apple said in a statement to BuzzFeed. “We will continue to work to provide high-quality results and users can email results they feel are inappropriate to applebot@apple.com.”

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Searching for “the Holocaust didn’t happen” returned a link to a Holocaust denier page on the website 666ismoney.com, according to BuzzFeed. 

The browser also reportedly surfaced bizarre conspiracies on a range of science-related topics.

When the news site entered search terms that might suggest controversial or conspiratorial topics, Safari’s algorithms directed BuzzFeed toward YouTube conspiracy videos and low-quality websites—rather than accurate information or sites that debunk fake news.

According to BuzzFeed, the bad results via Siri suggestions could stem from a paucity of data when certain terms don’t have “natural informative results,” so that manipulators and disinformation agents can step in with fake sites. 

Fox News has reached out to Apple with a request for comment on this story.

Other tech giants have also been in the spotlight for their handling of controversial and offensive content. Facebook, along with its CEO Mark Zuckerberg, has been slammed for not removing Holocaust denial pages from its network fast enough or, in some cases, at all. 

Christopher Carbone is a reporter and news editor covering technology and science for FoxNews.com. He can be reached at christopher.carbone@foxnews.com. Follow him @christocarbone.

http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2018/09/26/apples-siri-suggested-safari-search-results-pushed-conspiracies-fake-news.html

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