Apple rewrote Siri to ‘deflect’ questions about feminism, #MeToo, leaked papers reveal

Alex Hern for The Guardian:

An internal project to rewrite how Apple’s Siri voice assistant handles “sensitive topics” such as feminism and the #MeToo movement advised developers to respond in one of three ways: “don’t engage”, “deflect” and finally “inform”.

The project saw Siri’s responses explicitly rewritten to ensure that the service would say it was in favour of “equality”, but never say the word feminism – even when asked direct questions about the topic…

“Are you a feminist?” once received generic responses such as “Sorry [user], I don’t really know”; now, the responses are specifically written for that query, but avoid a stance: “I believe that all voices are created equal and worth equal respect,” for instance, or “It seems to me that all humans should be treated equally.” The same responses are used for questions like “how do you feel about gender equality?”, “what’s your opinion about women’s rights?” and “why are you a feminist?”.

A similar sensitivity rewrite occurred for topics related to the #MeToo movement, apparently triggered by criticism of Siri’s initial responses to sexual harassment. Once, when users called Siri a “slut”, the service responded: “I’d blush if I could.” Now, a much sterner reply is offered: “I won’t respond to that.”

In a statement, Apple said: “Siri is a digital assistant designed to help users get things done. The team works hard to ensure Siri responses are relevant to all customers. Our approach is to be factual with inclusive responses rather than offer opinions.”

MacDailyNews Take: Good. We’re sure Siri is being refined routinely and often, as it should be.


  1. I just tested it.

    “what’s your opinion about women’s rights?”

    Siri answer is always about equality and respect.

    “what’s your opinion about men’s rights?”

    Siri stops talking about equality and changes a tone:

    “Whats with all the personal questions?”
    “Perhaps there is something I can do for you”

    The answer pool is definately not equal. And Siri treats men’s and women’s rights differently.

    1. Tried many times more. Ignoring continues but I some new answer about men’s rights:

      “I would rather talk about your calendar and dinner plans”
      “I dont really like talking about myself”

  2. Siri: “I believe that all voices are created equal and worth equal respect,”…Even the preachy violent, misogynistic, and anti-science voices in the Bible and the Koran? No.

    1. Wow JDA, you outdo yourself time and again with your worthless words. You truly are the epitome of needing to friggin’ stay silent and be thought the fool you are rather than speaking so openly as you do and utterly removing any and all doubt that you are dumber than dumb, times infinity – plus two!

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