After claims by LGBTQ YouTubers that YouTube’s ‘Restricted Mode’ filters are hiding videos with LGBTQ content, the video giant says it is looking into it.
Said YouTube in a statement on its YouTube Creators account:
“We are so proud to represent LGBTQ+ voices on our platform—they’re a key part of what YouTube is all about. The intention of Restricted Mode is to filter out mature content for the tiny subset of our users who want a more limited experience. LGBTQ+ videos are available in Restricted Mode, but videos that discuss more sensitive issues may not be. We regret any confusion this has caused and are looking into your concerns. We appreciate your feedback and passion for making YouTube such an inclusive, diverse, and vibrant community.”
On Thursday, vlogger Rowan Ellis posted a video about the situation, spurring other YouTubers to speak up:
Tyler Oakley says at least one of his videos is blocked because of this:
— Tyler Oakley (@tyleroakley) March 19, 2017
In addition, the hashtags #YouTubeIsOverParty and #YouTubeRestricted started trending on Twitter over the weekend, with other users reporting that their videos about LGBT topics were hidden in Restricted Mode.
According to YouTube, Restricted Mode relies on “community flagging, age-restrictions, and other signals to identify and filter out potentially inappropriate content.” It is frequently used by parents, as well as schools, libraries and other institutions, to keep children from finding videos with porn, graphic violence and other objectionable content.
Videos referencing same-sex relationships, however, were also being hidden (including one of a lesbian couple’s wedding ceremony, notes Gizmodo). Ellis, who has about 22,600 subscribers and focuses on “pop culture from a feminist and queer perspective,” according to her YouTube bio, claimed that about 40 of her videos had been filtered out of Restricted Mode.
Even pop stars Tegan and Sara have been affected:
If you put @YouTube on restricted mode a bunch of our music videos disappear. I checked myself. LGBTQ people shouldn't be restricted. SAD!
— Tegan and Sara (@teganandsara) March 19, 2017
Let’s hope YouTube corrects this issue hastily.