UN campaign highlights homophobic search results on Google

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A new campaign by the United Nations for LGBT equality reveals widespread homophobia when typing the word ‘gays’ into Google.

The campaign shows examples of predicted searches, featuring homophobic language, superimposed over the mouths of people.

When “gays should” is typed into Google, the autocomplete feature presents the following search options: “be killed”, “die”, “not adopt”, and “be put to death”.

Charles Radcliffe, Senior Human Rights Advisor from the UN explained the basis of the campaign to PinkNews.

He said: “When we saw the UN Women social media ad showing what Google searches reveal about people’s views of women we were blown away. The results show that—for all the efforts and real progress of the past three decades—sexist and misogynist attitudes are still widespread”.

He added: “In response, Queerty ran a piece showing results of similar Google searches if you substitute ‘gays’ for ‘women.’ The results were even worse.”

“What these results do is remind us why the struggle against prejudice is such an important human rights cause—and help explain why homophobic hate is now on the agenda at the UN,” he concluded.

Earlier this year, a Change.org petition was set up to encourage the search engine giant to change its methods.

On Thursday, PinkNews received a statement from Google saying: “Autocomplete is a feature of Google search that offers predicted searches to help you more quickly find what you’re looking for”.

The spokesperson continued: “The search queries that you see as part of autocomplete are a reflection of the search activity of all web users and the contents of web pages indexed by Google”.

The spokesperson outlined how “autocomplete predictions are algorithmically determined based on a number of factors (including popularity of search terms) without any human intervention”.

Google is known for its strong LGBT diversity policies within the organisation such as Gayglers: Google’s LGBT Network as well as its campaign in support of equal marriage called Legalise Love.