Apple released a statement on Thursday denying recent allegations that its iPhone voice-activated assistant Siri is antiabortion.
Stories surfaced claiming the smartphone application did not recognize requests to find abortion clinics, and instead directed people towards pregnancy centers, according to the BBC. This created the accusations that the program was configured intentionally to act this way and encourage people to seek a pro-life option.
The President of NARAL Pro-choice America Foundation Nancy Keenan wrote a letter to Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, expressing her concern.
"Siri is a great tool that mixes humour and sarcasm in responding to questions. Thus, it is disappointing to read that a tool like Siri is missing the mark when it comes to providing information about such personal health issues as abortion care and contraception,” said Keenan in the letter.
In response, Apple spokesperson Natalie Kerries denied the allegations and reassured the public.
"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. 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,” said Kerries.
The app is popular for its unique sayings and answers to questions prompted by users. A fan website was set up with a collection of some of Siri’s most amusing quotes, called “What Siri is Saying.” Some have questioned who exactly is imputing the responses, but Apple has explained that the problem might be related to third-party websites and that the company is not responsible for any strange or missing answers.
One of its most widely used features, which is currently only available in the United States, is its ability to find the locations of organizations - hence why some were using Siri to locate abortion clinics.