YouTube responds to backlash over LGBTQ videos blocked in Restricted Mode
This weekend some YouTube users, Tegan and Sara among them, found that the site's Restricted Mode was blocking LGBTQ content from appearing on the site. Restricted Mode is available as a non-default, opt in feature at the bottom of each page. According to YouTube:
You can use Restricted Mode to help screen out potentially objectionable content that you may prefer not to see or don't want others in your family to see on YouTube. We use community flagging, age-restrictions, and other signals to identify and filter out potentially inappropriate content. Restricted Mode is available in all languages, but due to potential cultural sensitivities, the quality may vary.
YouTube has since posted a statement saying that LGBTQ videos will still be available in restricted mode, but "videos that discuss more sensitive issues may not be."
UPDATE: VP of Product Management at YouTube Joanna Wright has issued another statement via the YouTube Creator Blog.
...many of you have raised concerns about Restricted Mode and your content being unfairly impacted. The bottom line is that this feature isn’t working the way it should. We’re sorry and we’re going to fix it...
Our system sometimes make mistakes in understanding context and nuances when it assesses which videos to make available in Restricted Mode. For instance, the following videos are examples of where we got it wrong: Ash Hardell’s “Her Vows,” Calum McSwiggan’s “Coming Out To Grandma,” Jono and Ben’s “Woman interrupted during BBC interview,” and Tegan and Sara’s “BWU [OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO]. While the system will never be 100 percent perfect, as we said up top, we must and will do a better job. Thanks to your feedback, we’ve manually reviewed the example videos mentioned above and made sure they’re now available in Restricted Mode -- we’ll also be using this input to better train our systems. It will take time to fully audit our technology and roll out new changes, so please bear with us.”
Here are some of Tegan and Sara's tweets (and more):