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Apple is fixing a bug that blocked the word “Asian” from web searches for supposedly qualifying as “adult” content.
The bug affected devices which had the “Limit Adult Websites” function switched on, and came to light in February when developer Steven Shen tweeted about it.
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
In his tweet Shen said he’d alerted Apple to the problem “a long time ago.”
Speaking to Mashable, Shen said he contacted Apple in December 2019 about the bug. He said he received no “official” response, but an employee messaged him on Twitter to say they had flagged the issue internally.
Anti-Asian racism has been in the spotlight in recent weeks after the shootings in Atlanta in which eight people, six of them Asian women, were killed.
More users have been encountering the bug recently, to the point where Google’s public liaison for search Danny Sullivan clarified last week that the problem originated with iOS, not Google.
As you understand, this isn’t a block that Google Search is doing. It’s being done by iOS. But I’ll see if we have contacts at Google that might raise this with Apple, so they can look into it.
— Danny Sullivan (@dannysullivan) March 22, 2021
Mashable reported it had verified that Apple’s iOS 14.5 beta software update – which was sent out to developers last week – fixes the bug.
It will roll out to iPhone and iPad users sometime this Spring, Mashable reported.
Apple did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment on why the bug remained unfixed for so long and what had caused it.