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This article was published on March 20, 2017

YouTube’s Restricted Mode has been filtering innocuous LGBTQ+ content [Updated]

YouTube’s Restricted Mode has been filtering innocuous LGBTQ+ content [Updated]
Abhimanyu Ghoshal
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Abhimanyu Ghoshal

Managing Editor

Abhimanyu is TNW's Managing Editor, and is all about personal devices, Asia's tech ecosystem, as well as the intersection of technology and Abhimanyu is TNW's Managing Editor, and is all about personal devices, Asia's tech ecosystem, as well as the intersection of technology and culture. Hit him up on Twitter, or write in: [email protected].

A number of vloggers have accused YouTube of filtering their LGBTQ+ content in the platform’s Restricted Mode, reports Gizmodo.

The feature is designed to filter out inappropriate content from your feed and uses signals like flags from users as well as age restrictions on videos. And while it’s meant to prevent clips with sexually explicit imagery from being shown to children or other users who opt into the feature, it’s reportedly been hiding videos from LGBTQ+ community members that don’t contain such material.

It isn’t clear exactly when this began or why YouTube has begun filtering videos in this manner. The obvious danger here is depriving viewers of a source of information about LGBT issues, history and lifestyle – even when the content is innocent in nature.

As Gizmodo found, a clip of a lesbian couple reading their wedding vows to each other can be viewed normally on YouTube, but it doesn’t show up in the channel’s video listing when you turn Restricted mode on.

YouTuber Ash Hardell's video 'Her Vows' can be viewed normally on YouTube, but not in Restricted Mode (right)
YouTuber Ash Hardell’s video ‘Her Vows’ can be viewed normally on YouTube, but not in Restricted Mode (right)

There are many more where that came from, but it’s not clear exactly what’s causing the videos to be filtered. In YouTube’s app settings, there’s a note about the Restricted Mode option which says that “no filter is 100 percent accurate” and since it uses a number of signals including user-submitted flags, the platform may not be squarely to blame.

YouTube’s Creators division, which supports up-and-coming vloggers, stated in a tweet that it’s all for hosting LGBTQ+ content on its platform:

Credit: YTCreators/ Twitter

Hopefully, it’ll be able to resolve the issue at hand and make LGBTQ+ clips available more freely soon.

Update: Apart from the above statement, YouTube acknowledged the issue with Restricted Mode in a post on its Creator Blog, saying “this feature isn’t working the way it should. We’re sorry and we’re going to fix it.” The company also noted examples of videos that were mistakenly filtered out and has since made them available again; it’s also going to use that input to improve its filters. You can read the entire post here.

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