Google fixes algorithm so porn won't be first result when users search the word 'lesbian'

The search engine company made changes previously when the words 'girl' and 'teen' netted similar results.

A Google algorithm split screened with a laughing female couple looking at a mobile phone screen.

Google has reportedly adjusted its algorithm in an attempt to combat the situation wherein a flood of suggested pornographic content results whenever a user searches the word ‘lesbian’.

Users in the past have found their search pages being filled with links to pornographic sites, videos and imagery, meaning there is instant sexualisation of the word ‘lesbian’. In a very telling example, similar results were found when users googled the words ‘girl’ and ‘teen’, while the words ‘gay’ and ‘trans’ didn’t deliver instant porn.

But now, following a determined campaign led by the French website, Numerama, and the Twitter account @ SEO_lesbian (Search Engine Optimisation Lesbian), Google France have changed their algorithm.

@ SEO_lesbian, which is a collective run by volunteers, reported in the past that big companies would actually block the word ‘lesbian’ with their firewalls as it was associated with pornography. When SEOLesbian and others requested changes from search engines previously, they would be told “we can’t do anything about it” or “that’s just the way it is”.

Now, following the algorithm change, SEOLesbian have shown that determination pays off.

The French website NeonMag reports how French users who search the word are now linked to a Wikipedia page on lesbianism, academic articles on same, and links to definitions of the word. They also report being encouraged that not all elements of sexuality have been erased, as the first page has a link to the ‘lesbian Kamasutra’, but the links cater towards lesbians and not heterosexual men. Once the fourth page of search results is reached, however, the usual pornographic sites return.

On the algorithm change, Pandu Nayak, Google’s search engine quality Vice President stated, “We are aware that there are problems like this, in many languages ​​and different researches. We have developed algorithms to improve this research, one after the other. We have taken measures in cases where, when there is a reason for the word to be interpreted in a non-pornographic way, that interpretation is put forward”.

© 2019 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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