For families who want to feel a little more secure about their children watching YouTube videos, there is a family-friendly restricted mode. This mode is designed to use age-restrictions, and other signals to filter out content that could be considered potentially inappropriate for younger viewers.
So what could be wrong with Youtube trying to provide a safer viewing option for families? Recently, Youtube’s view of what should be considered “inappropriate” content that may be flawed.
The restricted mode has begun filtering out videos relating to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues. The parental control was said to block only those that discussed “delicate” topics such as politics, health and sexuality. However what was originally intended to block inappropriate and sexually explicit content ended up shunning a whole community.
Anything from transgender coming out videos to lesbian wedding vows were all affected by the filter. Many popular creators of videos on Youtube had many of their videos blocked by Youtube’s restricted mode.
One of YouTube’s biggest stars Tyler Oakley became aware that one of his newest videos was blocked under restricted mode.
“YouTube has always been a place for disenfranchised voices to reach audiences who are actively seeking representation in media,” Oakley stated in an interview with Teen Vogue. ”It’s often the first place many LGBTQ youth around the world see themselves and their stories shared and celebrated. Blocking LGBTQ creators and content is harmful, plain and simple.”
Gizmodo was the first to find the problem, and spoke to other YouTubers whose videos were being hidden. Video titles that had key words such as“gay,” “lesbian,” “bisexual” and “transgender” were hidden.
Calum McSwiggan, a YouTuber who makes videos about gay rights and other similar issues, was one of many who asked YouTube to address the problem.
YouTube did acknowledged the issue with this new restricted mode saying “this feature isn’t working the way it should. We’re sorry and we’re going to fix it.”
They have since made many of the filtered out videos available again.
McSwiggan stated tweeted he was “really happy” with YouTube’s response. In their statement, they specifically mentioned one of his videos that was blocked.
What is so interesting that in a time where equality and acceptance are so important, a giant platform such as YouTube could make such a drastic oversight like this. Even if it as an accident, aren’t we a little smarter than that YouTube?
These are harmful tactics, and even though they have been classified as a “mistake,” there are many individuals who think this way. According to an analysis of data collected by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people were already the most likely targets of hate crimes in America.
YouTube is supposed to be a place where individuals can express themselves in a way free of judgement. By classifying LGBTQ rights into a category as inappropriate is not only wrong, it’s completely unacceptable. A person’s sexual orientation should not be considered inappropriate just because it is not heterosexual.