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YouTube LGBTQ Content Restriction: Here’s What The Video Sharing Platform Had To Say

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PHOTOGRAPH: Esther Vargas/Flickr |

Alphabet-owned YouTube finally responded to recent complaints that it has been classifying LGBTQ+ content as ‘sensitive’ and hiding them under ‘Restricted Mode.’ In a tweet on its YouTube Creators account on Monday, the video sharing platform admitted that it had wrongfully labeled some of the videos, assuring content creators that they’re already working on a fix.

According to the platform, the filter’s intention was to remove mature content for a select user group. However, its explanation did not give any details as to why and how such materials were categorized as inappropriate.

A spokesperson also told The Guardian later that YouTube regretted any confusion that arose out of the issue.

YouTube LGBTQ Content Restriction

As previously reported, the company came under fire over the weekend after several LGBTQ+ YouTubers discovered that some of their uploads were not viewable for general viewership. Some of the restricted videos range from a makeup lesson for trans women to an LGBT couple reciting wedding vows.

British YouTuber Rowan Ellis was one of the first to address the concern in a video posted on Thursday, asking if the platform is anti-LGBT. This led to many other personalities to check into their own backlog, eventually discovering that some of their videos with any LGBT reference like ‘gay,’ ‘bisexual,’ and ‘lesbian,’ among others were removed too.

Even if the censorship was an accident, the LGBTQ community believes it has a negative effect because it makes it harder for LGBT kids to find support. “I think it’s really important to look at why LGBT content has been deemed as inappropriate,” Ellis said on the video. “This goes far beyond just a mistake that YouTube might have made and they are going to draw attention to and fix later.”

Algorithmic, Not Biased Filtering

However, Engadget noted that the accidental filtering did not only apply to LGBTQ+ contents. A handful of pop videos including songs by Taylor Swift,  Katy Perry, and 5 Seconds of Summer were also hidden under Restricted Mode.  The fact that the feature in question uses community flagging, age-restricted content and “other signals,” suggests that the filtering is likely algorithmic, and not biased.

Still, YouTube’s apology was met with a lukewarm response. High-profile vloggers including Jenna Marbles and Thomas Sanders were not satisfied with the platform’s explanation. At the time of publishing, many YouTubers are still reporting their uploads that feature discussions about terminology or coming out stories as being blocked.

The #YouTubeIsOverParty hashtag which many netizens used to criticize the company on Twitter was still going strong as of early Monday.

Also Read: YouTube TV: Offers CBS, Fox, ABC, and NBC For Only $35 A Month

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