After LGBTQ backlash, YouTube finally updates ‘Restricted Mode’ policy
Back in March, several popular LGBTQ+ YouTube vloggers claimed YouTube was using the site’s “restricted mode” to hide some of their videos.
Working with “dozens of volunteer LGBTQ employees and select LGBTQ creators” YouTube has rewritten and broadened the Restricted Mode guidelines to allow personal accounts of individuals who suffered discrimination or violence as long as they don’t contain graphic language or content.
Restricted mode, according to Google, enables users to filter out “potentially objectionable content” and was originally designed to ensure students attending public institutions like libraries and schools don’t watch mature content like porn or violence.
However, the policy led to some LGBTQ+ vloggers to accuse YouTube of implicitly categorizing their material as not “family-friendly.”
British vlogger Rowan Ellis was one of the people who complained, telling Gizmodo, “there is a bias somewhere within that process equating LGBTQ+ <should the Q be missing here?> with ‘not family friendly.”
Ellis posted her own video addressing the issue after she found dozens of her videos fell victim to the process:
In the blog post, which also announced YouTube’s Pride Month initiatives, Wojcicki acknowledged “there was LGBTQ (and other) content that should have been included in Restricted Mode but was not, like kissing at weddings, personal accounts of difficult events, and speaking out against discrimination.”
In April, YouTube said it fixed an engineering problem that was wrongly filtering LGBTQ videos:
“After a thorough investigation, we started making several improvements to Restricted Mode,” reads a message from posted by Johanna Wright, YouTube’s vice president of product management.
“On the engineering side, we fixed an issue that was incorrectly filtering videos for this feature, and now 12 million additional videos of all types — including hundreds of thousands featuring LGBTQ+ content — are available in Restricted Mode.”
Besides updating the policy, Wojcicki also said that the company will add new content to the Creator Academy, which helps video-makers create video “that will meet the criteria for Restricted Mode”.