YouTube Updates Restricted Mode Policy That Blocked LGBT Content

Hundreds of thousands of previously hidden LGBT-themed videos are now visible again.

YouTubers cried foul last month when the site’s Restricted Mode, an optional feature designed to block “potentially objectionable content,” began inexplicably filtering out LGBT videos, even when they were family-friendly.

YouTube announced on Friday that they have corrected the issue that was causing LGBT-themed videos to be blocked by the filter.

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YouTube

“After a thorough investigation, we started making several improvements to Restricted Mode,” wrote Johanna Wright, YouTube’s vice president of product management, on the company’s blog. “On the engineering side, we fixed an issue that was incorrectly filtering videos for this feature, and now 12 million additional videos of all types—including hundreds of thousands featuring LGBTQ+ content—are available in Restricted Mode.”

Wright adds that the company, which celebrated LGBT content with its #ProudToLove campaign, has spent the last few weeks “talking with creators and third-party organizations to better understand their experiences and questions.”

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YouTube

Queer vlogger Rowan Ellis noted last month that 40 of her videos had been blocked by Restricted Mode. “Videos about LGBTQ+ life, love, history, friendships etc. are no more inappropriate than videos with straight couples or telling the history of straight figures,” she told Gizmodo. “Yet they are apparently being treated differently.”

The update includes a new form that YouTube users can fill out if they believe one of their videos has been “inappropriately excluded.”

Ingrid Nilsen

Wright clarifies that Restricted Mode “should not filter out content belonging to individuals or groups based on certain attributes like gender, gender identity, political viewpoints, race, religion or sexual orientation.”

The filter will, however, continue to block content involving sex, drugs, alcohol, violence, and profanity, as well as “mature subjects” that include “terrorism, war, crime, and political conflicts that resulted in death or serious injury.”

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