Google is facing multiple accusations of discriminating against the LGBTQI community and it could spell a messy lawsuit for the company.
The first case involves the tech giant removing one popular gay social network app from its Google Play app store without warning.
Makers of the ‘Hornet’ app are reporting their app has been removed from the store several times and accused Google of hiring moderators in Malaysia to vet the app, where same-sex relationships are illegal.
According to reports by BBC, Hornet was suspended by moderators in Malaysia for photos of topless users, despite the photos not breaching any of Google’s sexual conduct guidelines.
To make matters worse for Google, the company is now being sued by a group of YouTubers for allegedly limiting the reach and discoverability of LGBTQI-themed videos.
Creators Amp Somers, Bria Kam, Chrissy Chambers, Celso Dulay, Chris Knight, Lindsay Amer and Chase Ross are all suing YouTube and parent company Google for allegedly removing advertising from videos featuring terms like “gay” and “lesbian”, labelling videos LGBTQI videos as “sensitive” or “mature” and not doing enough to filter hate speech in the comments section.
Vancouver couple Kam and Chambers, who operate the BriaAndChrissy channel with around 850,000 subscribers, are claiming their YouTube income dropped from $3,500 a month to $500 a month as a result of the site’s new algorithms.
“There’s a bunch of ways that YouTube is discriminating against us. YouTube is removing our thumbnails. They are not sending our video out to subscribers. They are unsubscribing people. If you search our names, certain videos just don’t appear. They are age-restricting our video, demonetising, age-gating our videos,” said Kam.
Google has denied any discrimination against LGBTQI video makers, with a spokesperson telling the media “our policies have no notion of sexual orientation or gender identity”.
The company does, however, accept its automated algorithms can get it wrong and gives video makers the opportunity to appeal these decisions.