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YouTube Filtering Draws Ire of Gay and Transgender Creators YouTube Filtering Draws Ire of Gay and Transgender Creators
(about 4 hours later)
YouTube on Monday admitted that its family-friendly “restricted mode” had wrongly labeled some videos on its site, apologizing and promising to fix the error, after users complained that the video-hosting site was filtering some lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender videos. YouTube on Monday admitted that its family-friendly “restricted mode” had wrongly labeled some videos on its site, apologizing and promising to fix the error, after users complained that the video-hosting site was filtering some videos about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues.
“Sorry for all the confusion with Restricted Mode. Some videos have been incorrectly labeled, and that’s not right. We’re on it! More to come,” the company wrote on Twitter.“Sorry for all the confusion with Restricted Mode. Some videos have been incorrectly labeled, and that’s not right. We’re on it! More to come,” the company wrote on Twitter.
YouTube had faced pressure over the weekend from some of its biggest stars to address the issue, and Monday’s statement appeared to go further in addressing some of the complaints than one released over the weekend that had said the platform was looking into some user concerns.YouTube had faced pressure over the weekend from some of its biggest stars to address the issue, and Monday’s statement appeared to go further in addressing some of the complaints than one released over the weekend that had said the platform was looking into some user concerns.
In its earlier statement, on Sunday, YouTube said that many videos featuring lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender content were unaffected by the filter, an optional parental-control mode, and that it only targeted those that discussed sensitive topics such as politics, health and sexuality.In its earlier statement, on Sunday, YouTube said that many videos featuring lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender content were unaffected by the filter, an optional parental-control mode, and that it only targeted those that discussed sensitive topics such as politics, health and sexuality.
But some of the video creators disagreed, pointing to blocked content that they argued were suitable for children of any age and did not discuss such subjects. They also said that the filtering shields lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender children from the resources and support the videos can provide. But some video creators, including the musicians Tegan and Sara and the YouTube personality and gay-rights advocate Tyler Oakley, disagreed, pointing to blocked content that they argued was suitable for children of any age and did not discuss such subjects. They also said that the filtering shields lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender children from the resources and support the videos can provide.
Like some, Tegan and Sara responded to the Monday statement with measured praise, expressing thanks for acknowledgment of the mistake while seeking clarity on how restricted mode works.
But others questioned whether the filtering was even necessary in the first place.
YouTube described restricted mode as “an optional feature used by a very small subset of users who want to have a more limited YouTube experience.”YouTube described restricted mode as “an optional feature used by a very small subset of users who want to have a more limited YouTube experience.”
Restricted mode relies on “community flagging, age-restrictions, and other signals” to identify which videos to filter, according to an official description. In a company video describing the feature, a YouTube presenter notes that the system is “not 100 percent accurate.” The feature relies on “community flagging, age-restrictions, and other signals” to identify which videos to filter, according to an official description. In a company video describing restricted mode, a YouTube presenter notes that the system is “not 100 percent accurate.”
In its initial response to the criticism, posted on Twitter on Sunday night, YouTube said that it was “so proud” to host L.G.B.T. voices and that it was “looking into your concerns.”In its initial response to the criticism, posted on Twitter on Sunday night, YouTube said that it was “so proud” to host L.G.B.T. voices and that it was “looking into your concerns.”
But some considered the company’s initial response insufficient. But some considered that response insufficient.
Stef Sanjati, who shares videos about transgender issues and her own transition, said the statement fell short.Stef Sanjati, who shares videos about transgender issues and her own transition, said the statement fell short.
Jenna Marbles, who with 17 million subscribers is among YouTube’s most popular stars, responded with incredulity to the site’s claim that only a small subset of users enable restricted mode.Jenna Marbles, who with 17 million subscribers is among YouTube’s most popular stars, responded with incredulity to the site’s claim that only a small subset of users enable restricted mode.
The filtering issue was highlighted in a video on Thursday by British user Rowan Ellis, who suggested that YouTube’s restricted mode appeared to have “some kind of targeted effect” for L.G.B.T. individuals.The filtering issue was highlighted in a video on Thursday by British user Rowan Ellis, who suggested that YouTube’s restricted mode appeared to have “some kind of targeted effect” for L.G.B.T. individuals.
Over the weekend, many video creators and users complained on Twitter, recycling the hashtag #YouTubeIsOverParty, which was trending worldwide by Sunday night.Over the weekend, many video creators and users complained on Twitter, recycling the hashtag #YouTubeIsOverParty, which was trending worldwide by Sunday night.
“YouTube has always been a place where you can find someone just like you,” Gigi Lazzarato, a transgender YouTube star better known as Gigi Gorgeous, said in a video encouraging the company to address the issue.“YouTube has always been a place where you can find someone just like you,” Gigi Lazzarato, a transgender YouTube star better known as Gigi Gorgeous, said in a video encouraging the company to address the issue.
Ms. Lazzarato, who stars in a YouTube-produced documentary about her transition and who posted the video before YouTube issued its Twitter statement, noted that many of the videos in which she discusses her transition are blocked under restricted mode. Such content can be educational for children struggling with their own gender identity, she said.Ms. Lazzarato, who stars in a YouTube-produced documentary about her transition and who posted the video before YouTube issued its Twitter statement, noted that many of the videos in which she discusses her transition are blocked under restricted mode. Such content can be educational for children struggling with their own gender identity, she said.
“That video might be the ultimate tipping point for them, in their transition,” she said.“That video might be the ultimate tipping point for them, in their transition,” she said.