YouTube responds to complaints that 'Restricted Mode' hides LGBT content
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Youtube found itself trending on Twitter on Sunday, March 19, US time – and not in a good way. The online online LGBT community was angry at the video giant as its "Restricted Mode" allegedly hid some videos discussing certain LGBT topics. The community gathered around the hashtag "#YouTubeIsOverParty."
The conversation regarding YouTube's alleged bias against LGBT videos was kicked off by British female YouTuber, Rowan Ellis. Ellis, on Thursday, March 16, posted a YouTube video titled "YouTube Is Anti-LGBT?"where she said that YouTube's "Restricted Mode" is "filtering out a hell of a lot of LGBT content" including 40 of her own.
Since then, several other YouTube personalities have voiced out their opinions. Tyler Oakley, a YouTube star with 8 million followers, urged his Twitter followers to actively check on all LGBT creators they're subscribed to until YouTube responds. Some of these LGBT creators, under the hashtag #YouTubeIsOverParty, corroborated Ellis' claims as they experienced some manner of censorship as well.
YouTube responded to the complaints through a tweet, giving a brief explanation of what "Restricted Mode" is for and saying that LGBT videos are indeed available in the mode:
A message to our community ... pic.twitter.com/oHNiiI7CVs— YouTube Creators (@YTCreators) March 20, 2017
In the tweet, YouTube said the intention of Restricted Mode was to filter out mature content for "a tiny subset of users who want a more limited experience," noting that while LGBTQ+ videos are still available on Restricted Mode, videos discussing "more sensitive issues may not be."
Restricted mode is not a new feature, having been around for years, and is meant to automatically filter "inappropriate content" as determined by community flagging, age restrictions and other signals. The setting can be switched on as an option, but is by default, turned off.
YouTube, in a post on its Creators Blog on March 20, later acknowledged the issue with its Restricted Mode. They said, "The bottom line is that this feature isn’t working the way it should. We’re sorry and we’re going to fix it."
YouTube added it has manually made changes regarding specific videos not being in Restricted mode, and it will be using the information to better train its systems and to audit their technology accordingly so it doesn't restrict other content in the future. – Rappler.com