Did You Know the Amazon Fire Has a Secret Profanity Filter That Blocks George Carlin’s Seven Dirty Words?
Remember how everyone used to make fun of Apple because iOS had a puritanical keyboard filter that automatically corrected "fuck" to duck"?
Get ready to snicker at Amazon.
I was browsing Twitter this morning on my Fire HD 8 (2018) when I discovered that Amazon has a profanity filter built into the tablet. I was about to use a swear word in a tweet when the Fire abruptly deleted the sentence. I tried to re-enter the sentence when the same thing happened again.
For reasons beyond my understanding, Amazon has secretly built a profanity filter into the Fire.
To be more exact, the speech recognition part of the Fire’s keyboard app has a list of words that it will not accept. You can type these words on the onscreen keyboard, but if you try to _say_ them then the app will delete the entire sentence.
Yes, it is just the speech recognition, and yes, it is the keyboard app, and not Twitter. I can confirm that I saw the same behavior in the Silk web browser.
This piqued my interest, so I spent some time seeing what else was caught in Amazon’s secret profanity filter. So far I have found that Amazon blocks six of George Carlin’s Seven Dirty Words. The list of censored words includes (but is not limited to):
Piss and Hell make it through the filter but they are also essentially blocked in that they are autocorrected to benign words this and hello.
And what’s even funnier is that bitch, titty, and ass made it through the profanity filter, making this a particularly inept filter.
I am sure there are other words blocked by Amazon’s puritanical filter, but I have not found them yet. I was also unable to find anyway to disable or enable the filter in the Fire’s settings menu (hence why I called it a secret). And no, I do not have any kids accounts on my Fire; there is just the one account (mine).
Amazon is far from the first to censor what you can say to its apps. Back in 2015 Google launched a speech recognition feature for Google Docs which included a mandatory profanity filter. That filter replaced the characters of a banned word with asterisks. It cannot be disabled, and in fact it’s still there (I tested it a few minutes ago).
Coincidentally, Google also has a similar spoken word profanity filter on Android. Like the filter on Google Docs, the Android profanity filter replaces the characters of a banned word with asterisks.
What is up with companies' limiting what you can say but not what you can type?