YouTube criticised over alleged LGBT content filtering

YouTube has come under fire from users and been accused of discrimination after videos around LGBT subjects appeared to be hidden from view in the service’s Restricted Mode.

Several prominent LGBT creators on the site reported videos posted by themselves and others on topics ranging from inspiration to dating and even music videos disappeared from search results and from their pages when the feature, which is off by default, is switched on.

The backlash was swift, with #YouTubeIsOverParty soon trending on Twitter on Sunday evening as news of the apparent filtering spread.

YouTube was also quick to respond, posting a statement to its Creators Twitter account that said the site was “proud” to represent the LGBT community.

“We regret any confusion this has caused and are looking into your concerns,” YouTube said.

However for many the damage had already been done, with personalities including popular creator Tyler Oakley noting that some videos that contained no obviously mature content appeared to be part of the filtering.

As a counterpoint, it has been suggested the tech behind the feature could be at fault, with questions raised as to whether the algorithm being used for Restricted Mode perhaps needed tweaking. Switching the feature on also removed several Taylor Swift music videos from view for example – suggesting a wider issue with the filtering set-up.

However, YouTube has said the aim of Restricted Mode was to provide a more limited experience – the filter is even referred to as “strict” within the app’s settings.

The incident comes at the end of a rough week for the video platform, after it was heavily criticised over its advertising system, which saw government-funded adverts appear alongside extremist content on the site. It led the chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee, Labour MP Yvette Cooper, to accuse the site of “profiting from hatred”.

YouTube and parent company Google were quick to say changes would be made and that it “can and must do more”.

 

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