Siri Doesn't Want to Talk About Tiananmen Square

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Kind of like that Siri abortion scandal that happened a few months ago, Siri just happens to know nothing about the Tiananmen Square protests in China. We say kind of, because we're not so sure the iPhone's (jokey) digital assistant is merely experiencing a "glitch" this time. When asked in Mandarin and Cantonese about June 4, 1989 and the Tiananmen Square uprising, Siri doesn't provide any real information, notes The Wall Street Journal's Paul Mozor.

One screenshot posted to Twitter shows Siri responding to the question "Do you know about the Tiananmen incident?" with the answer: "I couldn’t find any appointments related to ‘Do you know about Tiananmen.'" A second try with the question rephrased – "What happened on June 4, 1989?"—produced an even stranger response: "I’m sorry, the person you are looking for is not in your address book."

The bot won't even provide directions to the Square, China Digital Times's Anne Henochowicz discovered, posting a screen shot of the following conversation.

want to drive to Tiananmen Square, how do I get there?

Siri: Sorry, something went wrong. Could you please ask the question again?
抱歉,宝, 某处有错误。麻烦请你再试一次。

It's worth noting, though, that others say Siri isn't very good with directions anywhere in China. Even so, given China's history with the Internet and Tienanmen Square, we suspect this has to do with censorship rather than some beta bug. Siri gets her information from Internet databases -- in this case Chinese ones, which the government supervises closely.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.