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YouTube Says Restricted Mode Blocks Mature Content, Not LGBTQ+

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YouTube has a problem


YouTube is clearing up the situation regarding its Restricted Mode feature blocking LGBTQ+ content and says that only some of the videos have been blocked. Its explanations, however, don't really hold up.


"We are so proud to represent LGBTQ+ voices on our platform -- they're a key part of what YouTube is all about. The intention of Restricted Mode is to filter out mature content for the tiny subset of users who want a more limited experience. LGBTQ+ videos are available in Restricted Mode, but videos that discuss more sensitive issues may not be. We regret any confusion this has caused and are looking into your concerns," YouTube stated.


In short, YouTube's Restricted Mode, which aims to filter out more mature content and is switched off by default doesn't target LGBTQ+ content, but it does target videos that have a more "mature" content.


The reality

That's the official story. The reality, however, is a bit more different. Numerous vloggers have complained their material has been blocked. Then, singers like Tegan and Sara said in a tweet that their music videos have disappeared in Restricted Mode. A transgender YouTuber named SeaineLove says her videos about her transition have also been blocked.


Another YouTuber, Rowan Ellis, known for videos about pop culture from a feminist and LGBT perspective claims 40 of her videos are blocked in Restricted Mode.


The thing is, YouTube and Google don't really have a history of going against the LGBTQ+ community. Quite the opposite, in fact. What may be happening here is a coding issue that, for some reason, puts this type of videos on the wrong side of the barrier. It may also be an issue of reported content given how YouTube describes its service.


"We use community flagging, age-restrictions, and other signals to identify and filter out potentially inappropriate content. Restricted Mode is available in all languages, but due to potential cultural sensitivities, the quality may vary," says the YouTube Help page.


Therefore, if someone (or someones) were to start flagging LGBTQ+ videos, YouTube's automated systems would pick up on that and react accordingly. Things are pretty foggy at this point and we may or may not get a fuller explanation on the topic from YouTube at a later time.



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