Rather than isolating them to a spam folder, Apple is deleting any trace of emails received by iCloud users that contain the phrase "barely legal teen." Reports of the odd situation have surfaced lately and The Verge is able to confirm firsthand that messages including the text (either in subject or the email's body) are disappearing. Apple is also erasing any emails sent from an iCloud email address that contain the three words in succession. Bizarrely, changing "teen" to "teens" is all it takes for a message to get through successfully.

Back in November, InfoWorld reported that users were observing similar behavior when email attachments included the trigger phrase. Apple now appears to be screening plain-text messages for the words. We've also tested a number of other phrases and found that nearly any other vulgarity could be sent without issue. Thus we're not sure if what we're seeing is intentional on Apple's part or merely a bug, but it's important to note such actions are permitted under Apple's Terms of Service:

Apple reserves the right at all times to determine whether Content is appropriate and in compliance with this Agreement, and may pre-screen, move, refuse, modify and/or remove Content at any time, without prior notice and in its sole discretion, if such Content is found to be in violation of this Agreement or is otherwise objectionable.

Is Apple — no stranger to porn controversies — quietly enforcing censorship, or is this instead the result of an overzealous spam filter built into iCloud? We've reached out to Apple for more details on the matter and will report back should the company respond.

Thanks, franksands!