Earlier today, Twitter users discovered that searching for the term “bisexual” in photos, videos, or news yielded no results, while other search terms, such as “homosexual,” “gay,” or “lesbian did. While the company has reported that it is working to quickly resolve the issue, it’s been criticized for appearing to censor the term.
While a regular search would show the term, searching for it and other words like “sex,” “butt,” and “boobs,” under the photos, videos, and news section appeared to also have been eliminated. Activists are understandably upset about this: advocacy group The Bisexual Index told BBC Newsbeat that people who identify as bisexual have "historically been hypersexualised and associated with porn and promiscuity." The absence has led some groups such as Bi Pride UK and Human Rights Campaign cry foul, saying that the company is attempting to erase the term.
Twitter unveiled a calendar of updates for new measures to combat harassment and abuse in October, following outcry over after it suspended actress Rose McGowan. Included in the scheduled updates was updates to its media policy, which covers adult content and graphic violence. However, this update explicitly carved out an exception for “artistic, medical, health, or educational content,” as well as breastfeeding. The company also recently debuted a new safe search feature, which could eliminate potential sensitive content.
The Verge reached out to Twitter for comment, and a spokesperson pointed to a Tweet that said that the company has identified the error and is working on a fix.
We’ve identified an error with search results for certain terms. We apologize for this. We’re working quickly to resolve & will update soon.— Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) November 5, 2017