YouTube has a restricted mode, which filters videos with the goal to keep young people from stumbling upon inappropriate content. Unfortunately, it has been discovered that videos that do not contain inappropriate content made by members of the LGBTQ community are being blocked as well.
The restricted function was introduced by YouTube in 2010. It is intended mostly for organizations and institutions for youth such as schools so that they can control content. When restricted mode is enabled, videos that are violent, obscene, or related to certain illnesses like eating disorders or addiction are no longer searchable. Unfortunately, a number of videos with keywords like “gay,” “lesbian,” “bisexual,” and “transsexual” are also being categorized as “possibly inappropriate” when in restricted mode and cannot be viewed.
Among those who have been affected is the German non-profit organization queerblick e.V. Of their 462 videos, only 7 have not been blocked while in restricted mode. Other videos with titles such as “Coming out as trans” and “Nic tells his story” have been tagged as “possibly inappropriate” and blocked while in restricted mode.
Paul Klammer founded this organization in 2009 with the mission of providing young people in the LGBTQ community with some authentic role models and positive content. He described the revelation that the majority of their videos were hidden in restricted mode as being disappointing.
YouTuber, Rowan Ellis, has also been affected by this. She has said, “There are a lot of people, both young and old, who are very afraid and don’t feel at home in their bodies. These people have often been helped by online videos, because they couldn’t talk about it to anyone.” In some cases, these people have not been able to access her videos, and she is incredibly frustrated.
YouTube has issued a statement admitting that the function needs to be adjusted, and they have said they are working on it. However, nothing has happened since the release of the statement. Some users have taken to Twitter with the hashtag #youtubeisoverparty. Ellis says, “It’s not intended as a call for a boycott; it’s more of a symbolic appeal. And we’ll keep saying it loud until YouTube makes some changes.”