Metro Weekly

Google: Blocking bisexual organization’s ad account for using “bisexual” and “gay” was “a mistake”

Google's AdWords service considered "bisexual" and "gay" to be "sexually explicit" keywords

Photo: Google

Google has been forced to apologize to a bisexual advocacy organization after flagging “bisexual” and “gay” as “sexually explicit.”

The search giant’s AdWords advertising network banned BiNet USA’s account for using the terms, according to a tweet from the organization’s vice president Faith Cheltenham.

Google told Cheltenham that BiNet USA had been flagged “because you are using sexually explicit keywords (bisexual, gay, etc) in your account.”

The email added that BiNet USA should be using keywords that “reflect your organization’s mission and be relevant to your nonprofit’s programs and services” — though we’re not sure what could be more relevant than “bisexual.”

Cheltenham said she was “disappointed” Google considered the terms “too dirty to use in the work BiNet USA does to save lives from suicide, abuse and harm.”

One of Google’s Twitter accounts responding, saying it was “a mistake” and apologizing.

“We don’t have a policy banning terms like “gay” or “bisexual” for being sexually explicit,” the Google Grants account said. “We’ve reactivated your account and will look into how this happened.”

Cheltenham responded, saying their apology “counts for much considering how often bisexual people are erased without a single sorry.”

This was later affirmed in a second email from Google’s Ad Grants team, reiterating that Google does “not have a policy banning terms like ‘gay’ or ‘bisexual’ for being sexually explicit.”

Rhuaridh Marr is Metro Weekly's managing editor. He can be reached at

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