Google Tweaks Algorithm To Show Less Porn When You Look Up “Lesbian”

Google FINALLY shows informative results instead of porn for the search term “lesbian.”

If you’ve ever tried to use Google to look up anything lesbian-related, you may have noticed that the first few results tend to be pornographic content. Finally, that’s changing. Google has tweaked its algorithm to show informative results, such as news websites, instead of porn when you use the search term “lesbian.”

The change was spearheaded by the French news site Numerana and the Twitter account @SEO_lesbienne. Reporter Maria Turcan’s research found that only the word “lesbian” led to porn; the words “gay” and “trans” led to informative pages and specialized blogs. The sites were inspired to investigate the issue after noticing that porn results appeared underneath Google’s Pride banner in June.

It’s always been possible to filter out porn by using Google’s Safe Search feature. But nonetheless, the automatic lesbian porn is a prime example of how lesbians are hypersexualized and fetishized in our culture, and this feeds into homophobic abuse. The subpar search results also prevent lesbians and their allies from educating themselves and finding their community online.

Pandu Nayak, Google’s Vice President of Search Engine Quality, says that this problem exists in many different languages. It has happened with other search terms too, like “girl” or “teen.”

“We are aware that there are problems like this, in many languages ​​and different researches. We’ve developed algorithms to improve this research, one after the other,” Nayak told Numerama.

“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,” Nayak said. He added that such changes “take time.”

Pink News reports that, as of July 19, the top search results for “lesbian” are now news articles and the lesbian Wikipedia page.


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