YouTubers fight back as LGBTQ+ content is blocked

Last week Rowan Ellis, a British YouTube vlogger with over 22,000 subscribers, uploaded a video pointing out that a number of other videos that focused on LGBTIQ issues, including her own, had been "deemed as inappropriate" by the site.

Prominent LGBT YouTube content creators have become irate after discovering that YouTube's "Restricted Mode" was automatically hiding their videos, regardless of the actual content.

YouTube's statement didn't address how or why Restricted Mode blocked certain LGBTQ videos but said: "We appreciate your feedback and passion for making YouTube such an inclusive, diverse and vibrant community". She mentioned that hers, Calum McSwiggan, and other LGBT video channels have been affected.

On its support page, YouTube says it uses "community flagging, age-restrictions, and other signals to identify and filter out potentially inappropriate content" in Restricted Mode - which is turned off across the platform by default.

Your thoughts? Should LGBT issues be part of a restricted mode on YouTube?

Singers Tegan and Sara tweeted that some of their music videos had disappeared in Restricted Mode while SeaineLove, a transgender YouTuber, said her recent videos about her transition were blocked.

The criticism came after several popular users noted that some of their videos on same-sex relationships, crushes, and coming out were hidden when using Restricted Mode. "Restricting these videos makes it harder for these kids to find information they need and the community that they've been missing".

"Restricted Mode is an optional feature used by a very small subset of users who want to have a more limited YouTube experience", the spokesperson said. "Some videos that cover subjects like health, politics, and sexuality may not appear for users and institutions that choose to use this feature".

In the statement, which was put out via the YouTube Creators Twitter account, YouTube said that "LGBTQ+ videos are available in Restricted Mode, but videos that discuss more sensitive issues may not be".

Schools and libraries are places kids can go to access the internet away from their parents - something potentially life-saving for LGBT youth.

It's a feature that's been around for at least a year, but YouTube producers haven't been feeling the hurt until now.

Rowan Ellis took it one step further, noting that regardless of why it is happening, the fact that LGBT videos are restricted implies a bias in the system, equating LGBT content with "not family friendly". "Yet they are apparently being treated differently".

  • Salvatore Jensen