“The bottom line is that this feature isn’t working the way it should. We’re sorry and we’re going to fix it”
A surprising admission came from YouTube.
YouTube, a social media platform owned by Google has been hiding Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) related contents from viewers. This means that LGBT themed videos are not be visible for anyone who turns on the Restricted Mode.
Restricted mode was created to protect kids from contents that were not suitable for them and for certain people that did not want political, sexuality based or sensitive content appear on their feed.
Today, the Restricted Mode is blocking LBGT content, which impacts a lot of LGBT YouTubers in a negative way.
A lot of LGBT creators are concerned that the Restriction Mode has impacted their channels in a negative way and they have reacted by making videos expressing their thoughts and opinions on the restricted LGBT contents.
Gigi Gorgeous, an LBGT creator on YouTube who has more than 2.5 million subscribers was one of the first YouTubers who made a video regarding this concern. She captioned the video with the tag #ProudToBeRestricted, and has more than 350,000 views today.
In this video, she talked about how YouTube has helped her during her transition by giving her a safe place for self-exploration and the fact that now YouTube bans LGBT videos disappointed her.
“When I was younger, YouTube was my family, YouTube was the place where I found a community of people that understood what I was going through and agreed with opinions I had and things I was going though in my life.
YouTube has always been a place where you can find someone just like you. And now given than you can just turn on one button and the entire LGBTQ community can be taken away from you is really sad.”
She thought it was unfair to put LBGT content videos in the restricted category.
She said: “I’m not making porn; I’m not doing anything that should be blocked. It makes us, the LGBTQ community look bad.”
She argued that the idea that teenagers that were experiencing the same thing could not see and got support from most of her videos was upsetting.
“I think at the end of the day the young people are the ones who need the LGBTQ education most. At the end of the day stories are what educate. YouTube restrictions stop people from being their authentic self.”
Riyadh Khalaf, another LGBT creator who has more than 250,000 subscribers on YouTube also made a video regarding this issue.
He posted a video decrying the fact that half of his YouTube videos were hidden in Restriction Mode.
“The one that pissed me off the most, the video on marriage equality in Ireland, a campaign video I made, the one that I most proud of anything I’ve ever created, censored and gone.”
According to many LGBT creators, it was unfortunate that YouTube, a platform where anyone can have their voice heard, where tolerance, equality and freedom of speech were embraced made the decision to block LGBT related videos.
There were some LGBT YouTubers that have been complaining about their videos were categorised as “restricted” for no reason.
One of the example was Tegan and Sara’s short film video. They went on Twitter and argued that one of their videos should not be hidden when Restricted Mode was turned on but it did.
Johanna Wright, Vice President of Product Management of YouTube wrote an explanation regarding this issue on the YouTube Creator Blog to clear things up.
“The bottom line is that this feature isn’t working the way it should. We’re sorry and we’re going to fix it.
“We introduced Restricted Mode back in 2010 as an optional feature to help institutions like schools as well as people who wanted to better control the content they see on YouTube. We designed this feature to broadly restrict content across more mature topics whether these are videos that contain profanity, those that depict images or descriptions of violence, or discussion of certain diseases like addictions and eating disorders.
“Our system sometimes make mistakes in understanding context and nuances when it assesses which videos to make available in Restricted Mode.”
YouTube also went to Twitter to adjust the problem.
At the end of the day, Restricted Mode is an optional feature that automatically filters content. It is the viewers’ choice to either turn on the Restricted Mode or not.