This morning people on Twitter were outraged over YouTube’s new setting. In your Youtube settings you can choose “restricted mode” which is supposed to ” hide videos that may contain inappropriate content that is flagged by users and other signals”. While YouTube does say that it may not be “100% accurate, but should help you avoid inappropriate content”, people can’t help but notice a rather obvious pattern there.
Youtuber Neonfiona tweeted two pictures comparing her videos before and after the restricted mode was on. What she noticed – and we as well need to- is that her video “An Honest Chat About Being Single” – which discusses sex, is available but videos talking about her girlfriend or her lesbian crushes, are not, even though she doesn’t discuss anything sexual in them. A fair amount of videos is also not available on Ash Hardell’s channel, mostly the ones with “gay”, “bisexual” etc in the title with only a couple left. Lots of coming out videos are gone – including Shane Dawson’s, Dodie Clark’s or Troye Sivan’s. Many other YouTubers tweeted saying their content in which they discuss LGBT+ issues is gone.
YouTube has always claimed to be LGBT+ friendly, even making a whole separate video for Pride Month for years now. But at the same time, it’s making it seem that all videos that talk about someone’s sexual, romantic or gender identity – aren’t appropriate, even when they don’t show it in a sexual way.
It’s making love not innocent, it’s making discussing love by not-straight people not innocent, and not age-appropriate. It’s a step back for LGBT+ representation as well as for YouTube, when it’s supposed to be a platform for people to speak their mind and their real experiences. For some people their entire accounts have no to little content with restricted mode on, making it seem like they made nothing, making their work just disappear. Many people have already tweeted to YouTube – including YouTubers themselves but YouTube is yet to answer.