Siri called Israel the ‘Zionist occupation state’ when users asked about President Reuven Rivlin, according to videos shared to social media

Social media users noticed Siri had called Israel the

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Social media users noticed Siri had called Israel the “Zionist occupation state.”
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Wachiwit/Shutterstock
  • Siri, Apple’s virtual assistant, appeared to call Israel the “Zionist occupation state” when users asked about the president of the country, according to posts made to social media.
  • The edit likely came from Wikipedia, though Apple has not confirmed the source of the error.
  • While the issue appears to have been resolved, it is not the first instance of Siri providing a questionable response.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Apple is facing questions Sunday as to why Siri, its built-in virtual assistant, was calling Israel the “Zionist occupation state” when users asked it who the president of the country was.

“Reuven Rivlin is the president of the Zionist occupation state,” the virtual assistant told users according to several videos and screenshots shared to Twitter by journalists and other users.

Rivlin, who has been president of Israel since 2014, serves a largely ceremonial role in the country, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu serving as the head of the country’s government.

It’s not clear when Siri – available to its Mac, iOS, Apple Watch, and Apple TV users – first started making the statement, although posts about the apparent flub begun appearing on social media on Saturday night. When the same question was asked to the virtual assistant Sunday, Siri returned the expected response, “Reuven Rivlin is the President of Israel.”

Michelle Sindyukov, who posted a video of her exchange with Siri to Twitter, told Insider a friend alerted her to what was happening, so she tried it out for herself.

“I was honestly shocked because Siri’s response is so offensive, so I felt like I had to share it with others and tag Apple, so they correct the mistake,” Sindyukov said about her exchange with Siri, which she added occurred at about 9:40 p.m. Saturday in Washington DC.

Apple did not immediately respond for comment. While it’s not exactly clear how this happened, Apple does source information for Siri’s “knowledge” tool from Wikipedia, which can be edited by users.

It’s not the first time that someone has seemingly toyed with a Wikipedia entry that resulted in a controversial response from Siri. In 2018, when users asked the service how old US President Donald Trump was, the service showed them an image of a penis instead of the 45th president, according to The Verge.

Although it received praise when it launched Siri in 2011 on the iPhone 4S, Apple has been criticized over the last decade as some argue Apple has let its virtual assistant fall behind compared to other popular virtual assistants, like Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.

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