YouTube launched their new Restricted Mode earlier this week and quickly caught the attention of a number of LGBTQ artists and vloggers.
The Restricted Mode, which was created specifically for parents and educators to block content that was deemed inappropriate for anyone under the age of 18, began blocking LGBTQ content this week, including videos showing same-sex couples, as well as videos featuring openly gay artists.
The Restricted Mode is set to flag videos that may be deemed inappropriate for children, with flagged videos undergoing review by YouTube before being placed into Restricted Mode. Even after this ‘human touch’, many videos with LGBTQ content have been placed in Restricted Mode for no apparent reason.
Canadian singers Tegan and Sara were shocked to find some of their videos placed in Restricted Mode, including “That Girl,” which features backstage footage from their 2016 tour, and their 2009 video “Alligator,” which shows the sisters running around in snow suits. The twins, who are both gay, posted about their videos being placed into Restricted Mode, writing on their Instagram page “I can only assume that the content has been flagged by users who are homophobic and don’t want unassuming straight people to be turned gay by seeing us dance. What a shame.”
We made the video for U-Turn with the incredibly talented @sethbogartofficial It is a simple and goofy video where we drive around in a plywood car and dance in front of a green screen. I have no idea why this video would be deemed too “sensitive” by @youtube The other videos of ours that have been restricted? That Girl, which is essentially a tour documentary that includes footage of us performing and sitting backstage. And Alligator, a video where we dance around in snow suits with woolly hats on. I can only assume that the content has been flagged by users who are homophobic and don’t want unassuming straight people to be turned gay by seeing us dance. What a shame.
Tegan and Sara aren’t the only musicians to be affected. Nova Scotia native Ria Mae was disappointed to see her video for “Gold,” which features Mae and actor Gaby Henderson kissing as a same sex couple, allocated to YouTube’s Restricted Mode.
Mae spoke with CTV News about YouTube’s decision to deem her video as adult-only content, saying the move is harmful to the young LGBTQ community. “I’m in it (the video) kissing someone. Whether I was gay or straight, I’m not that comfortable with people seeing that, but I felt it was important because that’s what I needed to see when I was a kid. I needed to see that it was normal and okay and someone could be successful and still be themselves.”
Mae says that YouTube’s new filtering system is sending a negative message to the LGBTQ community. “My content is not mature content, I just happen to be gay, and that’s why they restricted it,” says Mae. “I think that what YouTube did gives a strong message that queer content is inappropriate for children.”
Videos with popular YouTube vloggers discussing LGBTQ issues have also been placed in restricted mode. YouTuber Calum McSwiggan’s video discussing coming out to his grandmother was removed, as were videos by YouTuber Tyler Oakley and Gigi Gorgeous.
— Tyler Oakley (@tyleroakley) March 19, 2017
— Calum McSwiggan (@CalumMcSwiggan) March 18, 2017
YouTube has now responded to the complaints, admitting that some videos were placed in Restricted Mode by error. YouTube says they are looking into videos that may have been incorrectly placed in Restricted Mode, but will still continue to restrict content that discuss ‘sensitive issues.’
A message to our community … pic.twitter.com/oHNiiI7CVs
— YouTube Creators (@YTCreators) March 20, 2017