Twitter Blocked Searches For LGBT Terms And Called It An 'Error'

GettyImages-170253967
People marching with anBi, a bisexual organization, carry a bisexual flag in the 43rd L.A. Pride Parade. The term "bisexual" was blocked from Twitter's search over the weekend. Photo by David McNew/Getty Images

Twitter blocked bisexual photos, videos and news from its search results over the weekend.

When users searched for "bisexual," they were met with a message saying that "no results could be found."

The Human Rights Campaign called out Twitter in a tweet, saying that they were "surprised to see some searches for #bisexual and #gay blocked. We urge you to fix - #LGBTQ visibility matters."

.@TwitterSupport we’re surprised to see some searches for #bisexual and #gay blocked. We urge you to fix - #LGBTQ visibility matters. pic.twitter.com/RTjcCdl7Pc

— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) November 5, 2017

Other Twitter users were just as upset. One user wrote, "twitter: doesnt suspend racists, sexists, ban slurs, deactivate spam accounts
also twitter: blocks #bisexual from showing photos/results"

twitter: doesnt suspend racists, sexists, ban slurs, deactivate spam accounts

also twitter: blocks #bisexual from showing photos/results

— al (@aftergIowlive) November 5, 2017

What does deliberate bisexual erasure look like? Click this hashtag and then see how many pictures come up: #bisexual pic.twitter.com/VEOUhoHiIZ

— The Bisexual Index (@bisexualindex) November 4, 2017

While the focus has been on #bisexual (and for good reason), I feel it is worth noting that these two terms are also blocked. pic.twitter.com/pte6mB6Mfb

— Gwendolyn Ann Smith (@gwenners) November 6, 2017

After Twitter received plenty of heat for the issue, on Sunday evening it cited an "error" on their end and said they were "working quickly" to resolve it.

"We've identified an error with search results for certain terms," Twitter support wrote. "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

As of Monday afternoon, it was resolved.

But this isn't the first time this has happened. Earlier this year, it assumed people's genders based on their "profile and activity."

Jim Halloran, chief digital officer for GLAAD and former head of global content management at Twitter, criticized his former employer for blocking LGBT content in an interview with Axios.

This is not the first time innocent LGBTQ content has been wrongfully blocked on Twitter. Yet each time we see band aid fixes that ignore the root of the issue. https://t.co/kH7VBnyBlC

— GLAAD (@glaad) November 6, 2017

"This is not the first time innocent LGBTQ content has been wrongfully blocked on Twitter," Halloran told Axios. "Yet each time we see band-aid fixes that ignore the root of the issue. Not only does Twitter need to fix the biases in their code once and for all, but they must do a better job of responding quickly to LGBTQ users."

And it isn't just Twitter either. Early this year, hundreds of thousands of LGBT videos were hidden from YouTube viewers who use the site's restricted mode.

Activists have come out to say this isn't just a small problem of accidentally removing a word: it's cultural erasure.