Tags: iphone | spell | check | abortion | rape | murder

IPhone Doesn't Spell Check Hot-button Words Like 'Abortion,' 'Rape'

Tuesday, 16 Jul 2013 06:44 PM

By Morgan Chilson

Is your Apple iPhone making a political statement through its spell check, picking and choosing words it will or won’t correct?

The Daily Beast did an in-depth analysis of the iPhone’s most recent software and found it won’t make spelling corrections for what the news organization called “hot-button” words like “abortion,” “rape,” “ammo,” “drunken,” “murder,” and “virginity.”

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Although spell check software usually picks up on a mistyped “m” and “n” because of their location next to each other on the keyboard, when The Daily Beast input “abortiom,” the software had no spelling suggestions to fix the error.

An Apple spokesperson wouldn’t comment for the article, the Beast said.

A Huffington Post article questioned whether the spell check issue might cause safety problems and endanger people.

For instance, the article said, what if someone is hiding from an abusive partner and needs to text words like “murder” and “abduct”? A 911 police dispatcher told CBS that call centers receive text messages because there are “definitely situations where people can’t talk or it’s much better if they don’t talk,” The Huffington Post said.

The Daily Beast study found 14,000 words that won’t be corrected even when only misspelled a tiny bit, but most of those words were technical words that would be rarely used. Reporter Michael Keller said dozens of words that weren’t “jargon or technical words” did not offer corrections. He did remind readers that iPhones “learn” from usage, so some of their phones may have learned to correct words on the site’s excluded list because of constant usage.

The story started when Daily Beast reporters were working on a story about abortion and iPhone users emailing about it found the word “abortion” didn’t offer a spell check option, a NewsBeast Lab blog detailing the study’s methodology said.

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