FACT CHECK: No, This Headline About Apple Scanning Phones For ‘Extremist Content And Firearms’ Is Not Real

Brad Sylvester | Fact Check Editor

An image shared on Facebook allegedly shows a news headline that reads, “Apple plans to scan US iPhones for extremist content and firearms.”

Verdict: False

The image has been digitally altered. Apple recently said it plans to scan U.S. iPhones to detect known images of child sexual abuse.

Fact Check:

The image of what looks like an Aug. 6 article, supposedly written by The Guardian tech editor Alex Hern, has been circulating online recently. It alleges Apple “will scan photo libraries stored on IPhones in the US for known far-right propaganda as well as firearm ownership,” a move that was purportedly praised by the Anti-Defamation League and Moms Demand Action.

The screen grab appears to be a photoshopped version of a real Aug. 6 article Hern wrote for The Guardian titled, “Apple plans to scan US iPhones for child sexual abuse images.” Some details such as the byline, time stamp and sub-headline in the doctored image match those in the actual article. Hern’s real story reported on how Apple announced it would scan the photo libraries of iPhone users in the U.S. for known images of child sexual abuse using a special system.

Hern addressed the altered image on Twitter, saying, “Some American right-wingers have made incredibly low-effort fake news with my name on it and now my mentions are filled with idiots.” (RELATED: Did Apple Disable The Emergency Alert System On Iphones In The Latest IOS Update?)

A review of Hern’s bylines for The Guardian turned up no matches for articles about Apple scanning iPhones for “extremist content and firearms.” Check Your Fact also didn’t find any national or tech-focused news outlets reporting on such a move by Apple, and Apple does not mention a plan to that effect on its website.

“This is false,” Shane Bauer, an Apple spokesperson, confirmed in an email to Check Your Fact.

Brad Sylvester

Fact Check Editor
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