Twitter has come under fire for blocking image, video and news search results for “bisexual” and “transexual.” Naturally, since bi and trans activists use these words to help other people find their work, if Twitter censors searches related to those words, it’s tantamount to erasing the work of bi and trans people and hiding them from view. Twitter has said that it’s working to resolve the issue, but the issue highlights the social media platform’s ongoing censorship of LGBTQ content.
As of now, if you go to Twitter and try to search for photos, videos or news using the words “bisexual” or “transexual” (with or without the hashtag symbol, “#”), you’ll get the following message: “The term you entered did not bring up any results. You may have mistyped your term or your search setting could be protecting you from some potentially sensitive content.”
The Human Rights Campaign, the world’s largest LGBTQ organization, also publicly announced that the company had also blocked search results for #gay, but as of now search results appear for #gay (and its unclear if they were ever blocked to begin with, as no other outlet has reported it).
Twitter responded to users who notified them of the censorship by stating. “We’ve identified an error with search results for certain terms. We apologize for this. We’re working quickly to resolve & will update soon.”
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
Twitter censors LGBTQ content, as do many other social media platforms
Some Twitter users have wondered whether Twitter blocked searches for the two terms in a misapplied attempt to block bi and trans sexual content. But even if that’s the case, their efforts have been applied too broadly and inadvertently send the message that bi and trans people are obscene and too sexual for inclusion on public searches.
Featured image by vchal via iStock