Type the keyword gay into a search engine and what would you expect; marriage, adoption, homophobic attacks, or maybe even Burger King?
That’s what users have found on NewsNow, an online news portal, which searches and scans keywords in 15 languages from thousands of online publications.
Stories from Canadian internet news service provider, myTelus, have taken over the Gay and Lesbian section of NewsNow with stories covering subjects such as Burger King, diamond strikes, and unemployment rates.
Obviously the gay community have to eat, own jewellery, and some are unemployed, but on further inspection, these search results, which are dominating the page, don’t even mention gay people.
The stories have been picked up because of a survey on all of the myTelus pages which asks, “Should Stephen Harper’s Conservatives keep their promise to hold a free vote on same-sex marriage?”
An interesting question indeed, but PinkNews.co.uk’s editor, Benjamin Cohen, says the search results generated from myTelus are affecting PinkNews.co.uk’s traffic, “We receive between two and four thousand visitors a day from NewsNow and their client websites, however in the past few days we have noticed that level reduce significantly, presumably, some gay and lesbian users have stayed away from the site after their search results found such irrelevant information.”
He laughingly added, “I suppose this shows the problems of having a computer decide what’s gay, imagine if this was used as the entry criteria for a gay club.”
A NewsNow spokesman said: “It’s a pruning issue.”