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Last month, YouTube’s family-friendly Restricted Mode caused an uproar after YouTubers realised it was blocking LGBTQ+ content.
The mode is meant to be used as an option for schools, libraries and parents who don’t want children accessing “mature content.” But YouTube’s algorithm blocked out makeup tutorials by trans-women, and period education by bisexual women.
On Friday, YouTube put those videos back in Restricted Mode’s good graces — along with 12-million others.
“We were unintentionally filtering content from Restricted Mode that shouldn’t have been,” VP of product management Johanna Wright writes in a blog post. “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.”
Wright also promises a feature that allows users to report videos unfairly blocked.
“Starting today, we’re providing a form to allow creators and viewers alike to give us feedback about this,” Wright says. “We will use this input to help improve our automated system going forward.”
YouTube: ‘We were unintentionally filtering content from Restricted Mode that shouldn’t have been’
YouTube is now also focused on transparency, and has revealed a list of content it wishes to keep hidden in Restricted Mode. This includes drug or alcohol use, “overly detailed conversations about sex,” “graphic descriptions of violence,” “specific details about events related to terrorism, war, crime, and political conflicts,” as well as swearing.
“We want to clarify that Restricted Mode should not filter out content belonging to individuals or groups based on certain attributes like gender, gender identity, political viewpoints, race, religion or sexual orientation.”
But Tyler Oakley’s video on “black LGBTQ+ trail blazers” is still hidden. And a search for Seaine Love — a YouTuber who uses her platform to discuss being trans — pulls up nothing. Changing to Restricted Mode on her channel removes videos about hormone treatment, a life update and Restricted Mode itself.
Featured image: Charles Hutchins via Flickr (CC 2.0, resized)