Global campaign to correct gender biases in internet searches for women in sport to launch at Football Ferns game

A global campaign to "correct the internet" will be launched at a football game between the United States and the Football Ferns on Saturday.

The campaign is aimed at highlighting and correcting gender biases in internet search results and increasing the visibility of women in sports.

These days people treat the internet like an old encyclopaedia and trust the information they receive is accurate.

But proceed with caution because the internet has inherited social biases.

"I came across it a year ago, searching for games, searching for statistics and was like 'hang on a minute this isn't right'," campaign lead Rebecca Snowdon said.

And like many others, Snowdon found that while many of the world's leading athletes and record holders are women the search results on the internet favoured sportsmen.

"The first result I am served is Cristiano Ronaldo, who does hold the world record for international goals in men's football, but the stats actually show us that the highest international goal scorer is Christine Sinclair over and above Cristiano Ronaldo," Women in Sport Aotearoa chief executive Nicky van den Bos said.

Tech commentator Paul Spain said it's because search engine algorithms are based on human behaviour and are designed to give us what they think we want. 

"It's a reflection of what's been published, and maybe what's the most popular from big media outlets in most cases," Spain said.

The campaign has identified more than 30 factual inconsistencies. Newshub put the campaign to the test.

When Newshub asked what player has scored the most tries in a Rugby World Cup, the internet said it was Jonah Lomu and Bryan Habana. The real answer was Portia Woodman.

When asked who the Kiwi golfer with the most majors is, the internet said Michael Campbell but it is Lydia Ko.

And even Dame Valerie Adams has been denied her achievements. The internet incorrectly saId American shot putter Ryan Crouser had the most world titles.

In an attempt to fix these errors, a tool has been developed, allowing people to correct factual errors on the internet one statistic at a time.

"We want to give sportswomen the visibility they deserve and want them to be recognised for their achievements," Snowdon said.

Bos agreed and said, "visibility is how we grow audiences, it's how we create interest and investment and awareness of women's sport".

The campaign launches during the Football Ferns clash with the USA at Auckland's Eden Park on Saturday.

"I hope that it does continue to break barriers and this campaign is successful because that's really huge," professional footballer Alex Morgan said.

It won't happen overnight but advocates hope the truth will one day prevail online.