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Apple bans ‘butt’ search in iMessage after My Little Pony porn shows up

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Apple has pulled the ability to search for "butt" GIFs in iMessage after realizing that the first result was a sexualized My Little Pony character.

GIF search is one of the many weird new features that Apple built into iMessage in iOS 10, which just came out on Tuesday. For the most part, Apple has been censoring searches for words that are likely to result in pornographic images, but Deadspin noticed a major omission overnight: the word "butt." Apple finally censored the results around 10:30AM ET this morning.

A strange oversight given Apple's opposition to porn

It was a strange oversight given Apple's staunch opposition to allowing porn in iOS apps. The fix was easy enough — Apple just had to censor searches for "butt" to remove this result — but that's not the full extent of the problem if Apple really is looking to be comprehensive here. For one, Apple autofills the text for even its censored searches; typing "dic" presents the option "dick pic," despite that search being banned. Misspellings of various body parts also still result in related GIFs, and in at least one instance we found, nudity.

Whether Apple should censor iMessage's GIF search at all is a fair question, but Apple has held for almost a decade now that iOS is to be a porn-free platform and has enforced that rule against third parties. In 2013, it even pulled the photography app 500px because it allowed nude photos to be found and published. Apple's strict stance toward others makes its own mishap all the more surprising, given that this is exactly the kind of thing a third party might get pulled for.