YouTube has said “sorry” for blocking LGBTQ videos through its Restricted Mode setting, and is working on a fix.
“We understand that this has been confusing and upsetting, and many of you have raised concerns about Restricted Mode and your content being unfairly impacted. The bottom line is that this feature isn’t working the way it should. We’re sorry and we’re going to fix it,” the company wrote in a post.
Restricted Mode lets organisations like schools “better control” what content their pupils might be seeing on YouTube.
It filters videos with swearing, violence, and depictions of eating disorders. But YouTuber Rowan Ellis highlighted in a video last week that the setting meant LGBTQ content wasn’t showing up in search in Restricted Mode, even where the content wasn’t explicit.
The system meant that a video made by Canadian musicians Tegan and Sara, “BWU” was not available in Restricted Mode, for example.
YouTube explained in its post: “Our system sometimes make mistakes in understanding context and nuances when it assesses which videos to make available in Restricted Mode.”
The problem led to lots of YouTubers criticising the company for being “anti-LGBTQ”, and to the resurgence of the #YouTubeIsOverParty hashtag on Twitter.
YouTube said 1.5% of views come from viewers with the restricted settings switched on, but added: [We] know this isn’t about numbers; it’s about the principle of anyone having access to important content and different points of view.”
YouTube said it would train its systems, but couldn’t give an exact date for an update.
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Glad u guys are looking into your mistake. But perhaps u should also share how u will determine what is “sensitive” and will b restricted? https://t.co/ZARor0Lf1E
— Tegan and Sara (@teganandsara) March 20, 2017