Apple News forced to take action after users receive racist notifications

Aisha Nozari

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Apple News forced to take action after users receive racist notifications

Featured Image Credit: Francis Joseph Dean/Dean Pictures / Alamy Stock Photo/ Panther Media GmbH / Alamy Stock Photo

Anyone with an iPhone likely gets notifications from Apple News, and an estimated 125 million people are thought to be using the service. 

The tech giant’s news aggregation service curates stories from various media organisations and pings headlines onto people’s phones.

So it’s no wonder Apple had to act fast on Tuesday (27 September) when ‘obscene, racist’ push notifications were sent to people’s devices.

According to Bloomberg, the notifications came from Fast Company before the magazine’s website was quickly shut down.

The outlet is owned by Joe Mansueto, Morningstar Inc.’s billionaire founder, and the business magazine confirmed on Twitter that ‘two obscene and racist push notifications were sent about a minute apart’, blaming the incident on a content management system hack.

Bloomburg notes it’s not clear how many people received the notifications, but that Apple Inc. had 1.8 billion active device users at the beginning of 2022.

Apple News confirmed on Twitter that Fast Company had sent the alert and the publisher had been hacked, with the n-word appearing on people’s screens.

“An incredibly offensive alert was sent by Fast Company, which has been hacked. Apple News has disabled their channel,” read Apple’s tweet.

Fast Company said in a statement: “Fast Company’s content management system was hacked on Tuesday evening.

“As a result, two obscene and racist push notifications were sent to our followers in Apple News about a minute apart.

“The messages are vile and not in line with the content or ethos of Fast Company. 

“We are investigating the situation and have shut down FastCompany.com until the situation has been resolved.”

The statement continued: “Tuesday’s hack follows an apparently related hack of FastCompany.com that occurred on Sunday afternoon, when similar language appeared on the site’s homepage.

“We shut down the site that afternoon and restored it about two hours later.”

Fast Company concluded: “Fast Company regrets that such abhorrent language appeared on our platforms and in Apple News, and we apologise to anyone who saw it before it was taken down.”

The Verge reported that some iPhone users who weren’t subscribed to Fast Company still received the notifications and that the notifications led users to a 2009 article that had been ‘vandalised’ and contained offensive language.

Someone using the moniker ‘Thrax’ is thought to be behind the hack, although the person’s identity is still unclear. 

At the time of writing, Fast Company’s website was still down. 

If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article and wish to speak to someone in confidence, contact Stop Hate UK by visiting their website www.stophateuk.org 

Topics: News, Apple, Twitter, World News, Technology

Aisha Nozari
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