Saturday, January 30, 2016

Apple Maps Criticized for Sending Abortion Seekers to CPCs

RH Reality Check (Jan, 29, 2106): Apple Maps Sends Abortion Seekers to Crisis Pregnancy Centers, by Jenn Stanley: 

iPhone owners in many cities who use the Apple Maps app to search for abortion clinics have been led astray, instead finding results for adoption agencies and deceitful crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs).

RH Reality Check describes an investigation by Fast Company in January, which tested Siri and Apple Maps in San Francisco.  When searching "abortion" in Maps or asking Siri "Where can I find an abortion provider," no abortion providers were included in the search results.  Instead, users were directed to an adoption agency almost 30 miles outside of San Francisco.  

Apple first received complaints about the problem five years ago.  

“My hunch is that this isn’t political at all, even now,” Sean Gourley, a data scientist and learning algorithms expert based in Silicon Valley, told Fast Company. “Apple is not a search company, unlike Google, and its knowledge base is very different.”

After it first received complaints in 2011, Apple responded that the results were not intentional and that steps would be taken to improve Siri as it was moved from "beta to a final product."  Other tech companies have taken proactive steps to provide accurate information about abortion.  In 2014, Google took steps to remove deceptive ads for Crisis Pregnancy Centers because they violated Google police against deceptive advertising.  RH Reality Check reports that since the initial Fast Company investigation,  "[s]earch results seemed to have improved over the past week."

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