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UPDATE: Yahoo no longer censoring profiles

Users who attempt to describe sexual orientation blocked as spam

Screen capture of the original blog post.

March 20 – Yahoo has fixed the problem. 

Yahoo censors profiles containing ‘sex’

March 9 – Creating a new Yahoo profile? Be sure to keep any description of your sexuality in the closet.

Yahoo is blocking profiles containing the word “sexual” and labelling them spam. This includes the words pansexual, transsexual and bisexual.

Xtra first learned about this from a blog post. Although the writer of “Just Some Guy” has been unavailable for comment, the blog details his frustrating experience.

“I just made a new Yahoo account and I was filling out my profile information. I finished, hit save, and was told I had infringed upon the terms of use and my information couldn’t be saved. The only explanation given was simply the word ‘spam.’ Then I removed the word ‘bisexual’ and it saved properly.”

Like MSN and Gmail, Yahoo profiles allow users to include a brief description of themselves. Profiles are used to “connect to friends, post information about yourself, and manage updates,” Yahoo states.

When Xtra created a profile with words containing the suffix “sexual,”  the profile was also blocked and flagged as “spam.”

“The content was not saved since it infringes on Yahoo! Terms of use (Spam),” it stated.

Shane Thomas, director of Yahoo Pride, says the company is working on trying to fix the problem. “It was not an intentional move on behalf of Yahoo to censor,” he says. 

“Based on our initial examination of this, it appears to be a glitch in the system. We are trying to sort out how to fix that glitch. We are actively seeking out a solution.”

Thomas says he received a call from the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) about the issue.

“GLAAD also found that when you write bisexual, transsexual and transgender, profiles are being categorized as spam,” Thomas says. “It is going to be fixed.”

GLAAD did not respond to Xtra’s requests for comment.

Thomas says he does not know if the problem is new or has just gone undetected until now. He does not know when it will be amended.