Video service YouTube has been criticised for restricting access to videos that contain references to same-sex relationships.
YouTube does not activate its restricted access filter by default, but users are able to activate it in their settings menu. It is designed to automatically filter potentially inappropriate” content which YouTube says is identified by community flagging… and other signals”.
However, The Guardian reports that YouTubers including Rowan Ellis and Tyler Oakley last week discovered that much of their content was being hidden, with the presumption being that it had been flagged for its LGBT content.
Also blocked were music videos from the likes of Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus and 5 Seconds of Summer.
A storm quickly brewed on Twitter, with many adopting the #YouTubeIsOverParty hashtag to speak out on what many interpreted as a direct attack on their freedoms.
Exactly what content is triggering the block remains unclear, although certainly some are claiming that any reference to non-straight sexuality or transgender experiences are acting as a trigger. YouTube has denied this, however, and says it is investigating the issue.
We are so proud to represent LGBTQ+ voices on our platform – they're a key part of what YouTube is about,” the service provider said. 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.”