YouTube has been accused of blocking LGBT+ content through the ‘Restricted Mode’ feature—designed to filter out inappropriate videos.
LGBT+ YouTubers have reported that their clips have disappeared when the filter is switched on—despite their innocuous content.
Queer feminist video blogger Rowan Ellis has spoken about her frustration with the new function, saying that she’s had around 40 videos that can’t be found in ‘Restricted Mode’.
“This is a mode which YouTube itself explains is for families and for children and it is filtering out a hell of a lot of LGBT content," said Ellis. “This is something that no-one is really sure how it’s working but we know that it has some kind of targeted effect for LGBT individuals."
She continued: “Whether that is with automatic tagging of content that they don’t think is appropriate, I think it’s really important to look at why LGBT content has been deemed inappropriate.
Youtuber Neon Fiona posted a screenshot on her Twitter showing that YouTube had removed all of her videos with LGBT+ related titles.
“I want to note that "An Honest Chat About Being Single" discusses sex. My bi videos don't. It's just any and all LGBT+ titles being flagged,” she tweeted.
Twitter users have been condemning the website by using the hashtag #YouTubePartyIsOver to protest the censoring of LGBT content.
“Every LGBT video is now restricted on YouTube but they kept sexist, racist, homophobic and abusive ones. #YoutubeIsOverParty,” wrote Twitter user @jetbutera.
“YouTube was my only connection to the LGBT community for YEARS. I can't imagine how miserable I would've been without it #YouTubeIsOverParty,” said @indytheatrekid.
A spokesperson for YouTube told Gizmodo in a statement that: “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.”