Leaked internal Pinterest documents show that it blacklists “Christian” and “Bible verses” from its auto-complete search suggestions

Auto-complete is one of the main tools for finding new content and ideas on Pinterest.

A new big tech insider leak from Project Veritas, an organization that exposes corruption in public and private institutions, has revealed that the visual search engine Pinterest is censoring the word “Christian” and various phrases featuring the word “Bible” (including “Bible verses”) from auto-complete in search. This auto-complete restriction only appears to be affecting Christian-themed searches and reduces the reach of Christian themed content across the site.

The auto-complete blacklist was uncovered by Project Veritas when an insider came forward and provided documents that show how Pinterest censors its auto-complete search suggestions.

One of these documents titled “Sensitive Terms Behavior” shows that Pinterest maintains an internal list of “sensitive terms” which are then blacklisted from various distribution features on the site such as auto-complete, search results, the trending section, and notifications.

According to this document, most of the Christian-themed words are marked as “Brand unsafe” which means they are removed from recommended/trending queries and notifications. However, searching for these words on Pinterest shows that they’re also blocked from auto-complete.

For example, when you search for “Christian,” most of the auto-complete suggestions are for names such as “Christiano” or “Christiana.” The one exception is “Christianquotes inspirational” (highlighted) which is showing because some Pinterest creators have figured out that “Christian” is being blacklisted from auto-complete and started to create pins with “Christianquotes” as one word to get around this blacklist.

Pinterest auto-complete suggestions for the term “Christian.”
Source: Pinterest

This auto-complete restriction isn’t being applied to other religious search terms such as “Jewish” and “Muslim” which both show auto-complete suggestions related to the search term.

Pinterest auto-complete suggestions for the term “Muslim.”
Source: Pinterest
Pinterest auto-complete suggestions for the term “Muslim.”
Source: Pinterest

The impact of this auto-complete blacklisting is likely to be significant for sites that create Christian themed content. Most users come to Pinterest to find new ideas and get fresh inspiration. Auto-complete search suggestions are one of the main tools that allow them to find this new content.

Other leaked documents show that Pinterest is not only suppressing Christian ideas through its auto-complete search suggestions but it’s also actively blacklisting a number of sites that uphold Christian and conservative values including the pro-life advocacy group Live Action and the conservative news site PJ Media. Pinterest users cannot link to sites that are on this domain blacklist which means these sites get zero distribution on the Pinterest platform.

These leaked documents from Pinterest are the latest in a series of leaks from various big tech firms showing that they often use internal processes to actively censor and suppress certain ideologies, brands, and public figures.

For example, multiple leaked documents have shown that Facebook maintains a “hate agents” list which features conservative commentator Candace Owens, conservative author Brigitte Gabriel, and YouTube commentator Carl “Sargon of Akkad” Benjamin. Facebook uses this list to monitor certain accounts and potentially mark them for termination.

Google has also been impacted by leaks which show an internal political bias against conservatives. Staff even threatened the employment of software engineer Mike Wacker, who had leaked a number of internal documents from Google, before he was ultimately fired from the company.

Wacker’s dismissal came days before a judge ruled that Google will have to face a lawsuit from former employee James Damore which alleges that the company’s internal culture is biased against conservatives. Damore’s firing also centers around leaked documents and came after an internal memo that he wrote was leaked to the public.

Tom Parker

Tom Parker is a head contributor for Reclaim The Net and provides news and analysis on how we can promote free speech, stop censorship, and protect our personal data online. [email protected]