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YouTube defends decision to hide LGBT videos after move outrages users

Josh Jackman March 20, 2017

YouTube has defended itself after a decision to hide some LGBT content from viewers provoked an outpouring of anger from users.

The site’s Restricted Mode feature, introduced by Google to “filter out potentially inappropriate content,” automatically hides many LGBT videos.

The option is off by default, but users can turn it on and lock the setting, often taking that decision so children aren’t exposed to offensive or explicit videos.

Creators and viewers expressed their outrage over the weekend, with ##YouTubeIsOverParty trending first worldwide.

Many framed their arguments around the fact that a lot of children will be unable to learn about LGBT issues through YouTube.

LGBT creator Rowan Ellis sparked the controversy after posting a video in which she said the move by YouTube implied a “bias” because it “equates LGBT with ‘not family friendly’.”

This morning, YouTube posted a statement on Twitter saying: “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.”

The company added that it was “so proud to represent LGBTQ+ voices on our platform – they’re a key part of what YouTube is all about.”

PinkNews has asked YouTube twice how the company decides which videos are shown in Restricted Mode, why LGBT videos are often hidden, and whether YouTube doesn’t want to educate children about LGBT issues.

YouTube has not answered any of these questions.

The only on-the-record comment the company has given is: “Restricted Mode is an optional feature used by a very small subset of users who want to have a more limited YouTube experience.

“Some videos that cover subjects like health, politics and sexuality may not appear for users and institutions that choose to use this feature.”

This morning’s statement did not satisfy many users who have grown frustrated with YouTube for not taking their concerns seriously.

Fiona Morris, whose username is neonfiona, has uploaded 136 videos over the past seven years. 67, one fewer than half of them, are not shown under Restricted Mode.

Some examples of restricted videos are The Girlfriend TEST ft Riley Jay Dennis, What People Say When You Come Out As Bisexual and Do LGBT+ Australians Want Gay Marriage?

Her coming out story has also been blocked from Restricted Mode users.

Trans YouTuber SeaineLove also found her videos were hidden with the feature. She considers the videos that were hidden to be “pretty G-rated”.

More: Education, lgbt education, US, YouTube, YouTube content

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