A petition has been floating around this afternoon railing Apple for being ‘anti-choice’ extremist, because Siri won’t serve up Siri results for Abortion providers, instead leading users to “anti-choice crisis pregnancy centers”(CPCs). Groups like NARAL want Apple to take action:
News reports have documented that, in some instances, Siri responded to a question concerning where to find abortion providers by directing an individual to anti-choice organizations known as “crisis pregnancy centers”(CPCs). Anti-choice groups created CPCs to look like comprehensive health clinics, but many do not provide women with accurate pregnancy-related information. This issue is especially important to us at NARAL Pro-Choice America Foundation, as our state affiliates in California, Massachusetts, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Texas, and Virginia have produced reports that document these deceptive practices. Many of these centers are not up front about their anti-abortion, anti-contraception agenda when advertising online or in other channels. For instance, many CPCs do not disclose their bias to women who walk through their doors or call their toll-free lines seeking information. Ultimately, many of these centers can be harmful and do nothing to help women locate the services they requested from Siri.
The petition is issued straight to CEO Tim Cook with almost 20,000 backers. But is Apple really at fault here? Just like when Google’s search algorithm pulls up manipulated results (like Santorum), Apple and its location partners like Yelp are pulling up manipulated results. Still, Apple plans on fixing this issue.
The NY Times asked Apple about the matter and got a response from PR Rep Natalie Kerris. She basically said that this isn’t intentional and that Siri is a beta product that will see changes in the coming weeks.
“Our customers want to use Siri to find out all types of information, and while it can find a lot, it doesn’t always find what you want,” said Natalie Kerris, a spokeswoman for Apple, in a phone interview late Wednesday. “These are not intentional omissions meant to offend anyone. It simply means that as we bring Siri from beta to a final product, we find places where we can do better, and we will in the coming weeks.”
It’s apparent that Apple still has a few kinks to hammer out when it comes to Siri, and that’s obviously why they’re still calling it a beta product. Siri has also seen its first pro-longed outage and doesn’t return with the search results some would like. Still, it is much better than anything else out there.