Supporting Queer Voices: Mindshare & Skyy Vodka


In the U.S., poorly applied keyword exclusion lists have cost journalism an estimated $2.8 billion by blocking safe content that is incorrectly flagged as problematic. If this award submission was a published article, chances are that it’d get blacklisted – because it uses words like “gay,” “sexuality,” and “trans.”

The industry has created a tension where we want to feature LGBTQ people in ads, but are systemically annihilating queer media with biased brand safety algorithms.

Advertisers have hundreds to over a thousand words on exclusions lists to ensure brands appear alongside content that reflects complementary topics or brand values, or avoid those in conflict. But ultimately the process results in a lack of financial support for different types of content (no matter its tone or the writer’s intent), with a particular impact on the LGBTQ community, forcing numerous publishers and voices to shut down or severely downsize. As much as 73% of neutral or positive LGBTQ online news which has been incorrectly flagged by this algorithmic bias in media buying.

Words like “sexuality,” “queer,” “trans” and “gay” can be used in ways that are sexual and discriminatory, or in ways that are empowering and affirming. And the content in pieces that discuss things like “bullying” or “violence” can differ in their message from article to article. An aggressive keyword exclusion list lacks the flexibility to identify the difference—it lacks the technological processing to understand the important context around keywords.

For more information about this Case Study, please visit Mindshare’s website here.