YouTube in discrimination row for 'hiding LGBT videos from view' in restricted mode

Francesca Gillett
Video platform: YouTube has been accused of discrimination by video makers including Rowan Ellis, above: Rowan Ellis/YouiTube

YouTube has been accused of discrimination after members of the LGBT community claimed some videos are being hidden from view.

Several YouTube personalities said the video website has an anti-LGBT bias after it was discovered that some videos mentioning same-sex relationships were classed as “restricted”.

Restricted mode is a setting used by visitors to the website to block videos with inappropriate content from appearing.

But many LGBT vloggers have called it “upsetting” that content mentioning homosexuality or transgender issues is considered sensitive.

Tyler Oakley, whose videos have been watched more than 618 million times, said he was “perplexed” as to why one of his posts promoting inspirational black LGBT people had been blocked.

He said on Twitter: “Still not fixed. One of my recent videos ‘8 black LGBTQ+ trailblazers who inspire me’ is blocked because of this. I’m perplexed.

“Until we hear back from YouTube, please actively check on all LGBTQ+ creators you’re subscribed to and continue to support their content.”

In a video shared online, popular UK feminist and queer YouTuber Rowan Ellis said the website was “filtering out a hell of a lot of LGBT content”.

The vlogger, whose videos have been watched more than 1.4 million times, claimed 40 of her videos had been hidden.

She said: “I think it’s really important to look at why LGBT content has been deemed as inappropriate.

“This is something which goes far beyond a mistake that YouTube might have made that they’re going to draw attention to and fix later.”

On Sunday the hashtag #YouTubeisoverparty began trending on Twitter after a wave of outrage was sparked online.

Other YouTubers got involved, including Amelia Ace whose video about asexuality was restricted.

Late on Sunday YouTube responded in a tweet. They said: “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.

“We appreciate your feedback and passion for making YouTube such an inclusive, diverse, and vibrant community.”

Matthew Hemes, Senior Social Media Manager for Pride in London said: “YouTube is an incredible space giving LGBTQ+ contributors around the world a platform to be heard.

“We are concerned that around 25 per cent of Pride in London’s video content is hidden when using YouTube’s ‘Restricted Mode’.

“Videos not shown include Prime Minister David Cameron’s message to those taking part in 2014, various videos from recent #NoFilter and #FreedomTo campaigns plus many performances on stage in Trafalgar Square.

“YouTube has been a fantastic supporter of Pride in London and we hope this is rectified soon.”

The Standard has contacted YouTube for comment.

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