LGBTQ+ Voices Were Filtered Out of YouTube's New Restricted Mode

LGBTQ+ Voices Were Filtered Out of YouTube's New Restricted Mode

The platform sends a clear message that the LGBTQ+ community isn't family friendly to a "tiny subset."

The platform sends a clear message that the LGBTQ+ community isn't family friendly to a "tiny subset."

Yesterday, vloggers took notice that YouTube’s new “Restricted” setting filtered out any content relating to LGBTQ+ and even went as far as to block openly gay creators. The move comes a day after the Human Rights Campaign Gala, which celebrates activists and trailblazers in the LGBTQ+ community.

Given the platform’s history of supporting diversity and expression, the message was unexpected, but clear: LGBTQ+ topics aren’t family friendly, according to YouTube. As if the implication wasn’t bad enough, the platform released the following statement (emphasis ours):

We are so proud to represent the LGBTQ+ voices on our platform—they’re a key part of what YouTube is all about. The intention of Restricted Mode is to filter out mature content for the tiny subset of users who want a more limited experience. LGBTQ+ videos are available in Restricted Mode, but videos that discuss more sensitive issues may not be. We regret any confusion this has caused and are looking into your concerns. We appreciate your feedback and passion for making YouTube such an inclusive, diverse, and vibrant community.

 

At the time of the above statement posting, that wasn’t even true. LGBTQ+ videos, like Tyler Oakley’s “8 Black LGBTQ+ Trailblazers Who Inspire Me,” weren’t available in Restricted Mode.

A more appropriate response from the company would have been to suspend the program until it could more appropriately look into the concerns of its community. Why YouTube is putting so much effort into catering to a “tiny subset” is questionable, and what’s unclear is if a single gay person works at YouTube.

Furthermore, LGBTQ+ topics like “Coming Out” videos should not be seen as “mature content.” Sorry YouTube, but you can’t be “proud to represent the LGBTQ+ voices on [your] platform” and also imply that there is something offensive about them. Furthermore, it's hiding videos from those who might need them most (think of the closeted kids who don't have control over their own account settings).

Jenna Marbles highlights a very likely reason behind the platform’s motivation:

Today, it appears that YouTube has proactively started rolling back some of the filters. For instance, Tyler Oakley and Connor Franta’s respective accounts are now discoverable in Restricted Mode, when they weren’t last night.

Fix it, YouTube.

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