YouTube faces social media storm over LGBT-blocking 'restricted mode'
Company 'regrets any confusion this has caused' and is 'looking into' concerns
YouTube says it's looking into concerns about the company's current "Restricted Mode" — a voluntary feature aimed at blocking mature or potentially inappropriate material, but which is seemingly indiscriminately filtering out content by and about the LGBT community.
Over the weekend, a host of high-profile LGBT artists and creators — including Canadian musicians Tegan and Sara, YouTube stars Tyler Oakley, Rowan Ellis and Gigi Gorgeous — called out the online video company over the restrictions, a feature the company offers "to help screen out potentially objectionable content that you may prefer not to see or don't want others in your family to see on YouTube."
Looking forward to <a href="https://twitter.com/YouTube">@youtube</a> fixing this restricted content issue ASAP! To our fellow LGBTQ content creators + LGBTQ friends MUCH LOVE TO U!—@teganandsara
Our videos for Alligator, That Girl + U-turn still restricted. None have "sensitive content" in them unless us dancing is "sensitive". <a href="https://t.co/IvFQfxYplZ">https://t.co/IvFQfxYplZ</a>—@teganandsara
until we hear back from <a href="https://twitter.com/YouTube">@youtube</a>, please actively check on all LGBTQ+ creators you're subscribed to & continue to support their content.—@tyleroakley
🏳️🌈 New Video 🏳️🌈<br><br>YouTube's anti-LGBT "restricted content mode" and why it's so dangerous.<a href="https://t.co/nS10uZTAUI">https://t.co/nS10uZTAUI</a> <a href="https://t.co/xJzGSHcSud">pic.twitter.com/xJzGSHcSud</a>—@HeyRowanEllis
My thoughts on the new LGBTQ restriction on YouTube. <a href="https://t.co/lGpNvxyoFa">https://t.co/lGpNvxyoFa</a> <a href="https://t.co/bAKShQL4Fe">pic.twitter.com/bAKShQL4Fe</a>—@TheGigiGorgeous
Outrage spilled out onto social media Sunday, with many expressing their disappointment using the hashag #YouTubeIsOverParty.
Many have questioned the parameters for the filtering, which has blocked, for instance, everything from video blogs about a transgender woman's experiences, to music videos by Lady Gaga and Selena Gomez, to a series of support/advice videos for LGBT youth.
The implication that LGBTQ language alone signifies 'mature' or 'sensitive' content is offensive and deeply concerning. <a href="https://twitter.com/YTCreators">@YTCreators</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/YouTube">@YouTube</a> <a href="https://t.co/pWtc33WkPi">https://t.co/pWtc33WkPi</a>—@alightowler
According to its help page, YouTube's "Restricted Mode" setting uses "community flagging, age-restrictions, and other signals to identify and filter out potentially inappropriate content. Restricted Mode is available in all languages, but due to potential cultural sensitivities, the quality may vary."
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YouTube says it regrets "any confusion this has caused and are looking into your concerns," in a statement posted via Twitter Sunday night.
A message to our community ... <a href="https://t.co/oHNiiI7CVs">pic.twitter.com/oHNiiI7CVs</a>—@YTCreators
Hey <a href="https://twitter.com/YTCreators">@YTCreators</a> if you actually want LGBTQ+ creators involved in fixing this mess you've created, we're ready to go. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/YoutubeIsOverParty?src=hash">#YoutubeIsOverParty</a>—@HeyRowanEllis