YouTube has responded to criticism that its automatic filtering system is restricting access to videos featuring lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and queer (LGBTQ+) content.
On 19 March social media was ablaze with comments and commentary as one Twitter hashtag – #YouTubeIsOverParty – went viral. Many called out an apparent double standard, saying the service consistently fails to police other forms of content it deems “offensive”.
YouTube, meanwhile, has stressed it remains “proud” of its LGBTQ+ community and called their content “a key part of what YouTube is all about”.
When enabled, the website’s Restricted Mode is designed to screen “potentially objectionable content”.
On its website, it says the feature uses community flagging and “other signals” to block out content that may offend some viewers and their families.
But some have complained that dozens of LGBTQ-focused content is being caught up in the net, flagged for little reason. British YouTuber Rowan Ellis – who boasts tens of thousands of channel subscribers – claimed up to 40 of her videos had been censored so far.
It is filtering out a “hell of a lot” of LGBTQ+ content, Ellis said in a post uploaded on 16 March.
“This is something that no-one is really sure how is working but we know that it has some kind of targeted effect for LGBT individuals,” she elaborated, adding: “This is something which goes far beyond just a mistake that YouTube might have made that it [can] fix later.