The YouTube community discovered something as shocking as it was confusing last night, as news spread that LGBTQ+ content was being hidden from channels when YouTube Restricted Mode was switched on. The mode, “which YouTube explained was for families and children“, seems to be auto-filtered out any words that contain LGBTQ+ language, including terms such as gay, queer and trans.
Creators such as Melanie Murphy, NeonFiona and Jeff Miller have all had videos affected purely because of the title/tags of their content, and not what was present inside the video. Allegedly, Calum McSwiggan “has had every single video on his channel bar one taken off” after it failed YouTube’s confusing barrier between restricted and unrestricted content wall.
In the video below, Rowan Ellis explains in great detail what is happening and why it’s so dangerous.
She explains that this follows a pattern of queer relationships and trans identities being “sexualised” or labelled “too perverse” for children to be exposed to. This in turn causes multiple problems including the exclusion of queer identities from being represented correctly, in addition to hiding safe spaces from “queer and trans youth” to find “a way into community”.
Below are some of the other creators dealing with this restricted access, however we currently have no word on YouTube as to why this auto-filter is being applied so blindly. Jenny Quigley-Jones, part of the Online Partnerships team at YouTube, seems to suggest that for now creators can “appeal” this – but this is a questionable action based on the way the videos are being restricted.
Here’s Melanie’s first interaction with a fan, in which they spotted Melanie’s “Bisexuality” video had been deemed as unsuitable outside of the restricted mode.
Fiona Morris spotted “70%” of her content would need to be appealed if it was the only way around the censorship wall.
Jeff Miller noticed that any video titles that talked “about things related to [his] identity” was “flagged”.
And finally, Rowan was applauded for her brave and headstrong video charging into the topic and directly tell YouTube how they’re “complicit in what has happened because it cannot be denied that these videos are being restricted”.
How do you feel about YouTube and the way they’ve been auto-filtering LGBTQ+ content as ‘restricted’? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.