Officials at Google are looking into why LGBTQ videos are being flagged as “restricted content” after many queer advocates took to social media to report the issue.
The Restricted Content system is meant to keep children from accessing explicit content.
It’s supposed to be used to filter videos which “don’t violate [its] policies, but may not be appropriate for all audiences,” according to Google’s support pages. (YouTube is owned by Google.)
“Age-restricted videos are not visible to users who are logged out, are under 18 years of age, or have Restricted Mode enabled,” the site reads.
On Sunday night, YouTube creators explained that “LGBTQ+ videos are available in Restricted Mode, but videos that dicuss more sensitive issues may not be.”
But LGBTQ YouTubers say their videos, many of which aren’t explicit or lewd, are being restricted unfairly.
Tyler Oakley, who is featured on Ellen DeGeneres’ online programming, took issue with the fact that his video, titled “8 Black LGBTQ+ Trailblazers Who Inspire Me,” was marked as restricted. The video isn’t explicit and talks about black gay advocates throughout history.
Another Youtuber, Neon Fiona, who describes herself as a “queer icon” in her Twitter bio, posted a list of her videos that had been blocked versus one that hadn’t. In the blocked list, any mention of her girlfriend or the word lesbian was removed.
“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 wrote on Twitter.
YouTube officials said they are proud of their LGTBQ+ content and would be looking into thier concerns.
“We regret any confusion this has caused and are looking into your concerns,” the statement from YouTube said. “We appreciate your feedback and passion for making YouTube such and inclusive, diverse, and vibrant community.”
Comedian Chris Crocker, one of the first LGBTQ YouTubers to gain fame on the video platform, addressed the issue on Sunday morning.
The 29-year-old Tennessee native became an early viral video sensation after 2007’s notorious “Leave Britney Alone!” video. Crocker addressed the reported content filtering several queer YouTubers have been facing as part of the platform’s “Restricted Mode.”
“YouTube is important for LGBTQ youth to find other LGBTQ people,” Chris explained via Twitter. “This new ‘restriction thing’ that blocks out LGBTQ content is very questionable.”
*With files from ET Canada’s Shakiel Mahjouri
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