YouTube responded Sunday night to accusations that it was unfairly hiding videos from the LGBTQ community through its “restricted mode” filter.
A number of LGBTQ vloggers took to social media over the weekend to air their complaints after videos referencing same-sex relationships had been flagged in recent days as “restricted,” a setting that YouTube uses to “filter out potentially inappropriate content.”
On Sunday night, the chief executive of Alphabet Inc.’s YouTube, tweeted that “the LGBT community means a lot to YouTube” and she was pressing her teams to investigate the matter.
“The intention of restricted mode is to filter out mature content,” YouTube said in a statement Sunday. “LGBTQ+ videos are available in restricted mode, but videos that discuss more sensitive issues may not be. We regret any confusion this has caused and are looking into your concerns.” YouTube did not explain why the videos may have been suddenly marked as restricted.
Subjects of the numerous restricted videos included people talking about their sexuality, same-sex marriages and even music videos.
British pop culture vlogger Rowan Ellis posted a video Saturday accusing YouTube of anti-LGBT bias after dozens of her videos were marked as restricted.
“There is a bias somewhere within that process equating LGBTQ+ with ‘not family friendly,’” Ellis told Gizmodo on Sunday. No matter “how innocent or unintentional the ‘hows’ or ‘whys’ are, the effects cannot be ignored,” she said.
Tyler Oakley, one of YouTube’s most popular vloggers with more than 8 million followers, also found some of his content restricted. “One of my recent videos ‘8 Black LGBTQ+ Trailblazers Who Inspire Me’ is blocked because of this. i’m perplexed,” he tweeted Sunday.
Some noted that the restrictions seemed to specifically target LGBTQ content, and that similarly themed videos with heterosexual content were not hidden. “It’s just any and all LGBT+ titles being flagged,” British YouTuber NeonFiona said in a tweet.
This article was originally published in Marketwatch.