YouTube says LGBTQ+ video censorship won’t happen again
YouTube has updated its policies to explicitly state that any LGBTQ+-themed video with no graphic/mature language and content is allowed in Restricted Mode. The platform launched Restricted Mode for use by kids and in places of learning, but it didn’t quite work as intended. It unfortunately ended up filtering out millions of harmless videos, many of them perfectly wholesome ones with LGBTQ+ themes. They include videos of a lesbian couple’s wedding vows, of someone emotionally coming out to his grandmother and of people speaking out against discrimination.
YouTube apologized after getting hit by allegations that it censors LGBTQ+ content and fixed the bug that apparently caused the issue. Now, the website has apologized yet again and updated its policies in an effort to reaffirm its “commitment that YouTube is a place where all voices can be heard.” YouTube chief Susan Wojcicki said she and her team talked to lesbian, gay, bi, trans and queer/questioning creators, employees and volunteers to get feedback on the platform’s policies. As a result, the company has “broadened Restricted Mode guidelines to ensure that non-graphic, personal accounts of difficult events are available.”
In a blog post, the CEO wrote:
“For example, personal accounts of individuals who suffered discrimination or were impacted by violence for being part of a protected group will now be included in Restricted Mode, provided they don’t contain graphic language or content. Soon we’ll have new content in Creator Academy to describe in detail how to make videos that will meet the criteria for Restricted Mode.”
If you look at the website’s guidelines, you’ll now find this section:
“Some educational, straightforward content about sexual education, affection, or identity may be included in Restricted Mode, as well as kissing or affection that’s not overly sexualized or the focal point of the video.”
“We know there is a risk that some important content could be lost if we were to apply these rules without context. We value stories where individuals discuss their personal experiences and share their emotions. Sharing stories about facing discrimination, opening up about your sexuality, and confronting and overcoming discrimination is what makes YouTube great, and we will work to ensure those stories are included in Restricted Mode. “
The Google-owned website admits that the mode might still not work perfectly despite the tweaks that it made, but it promises that its systems will get better at identifying entries that should and shouldn’t be filtered out over time. In addition to making guideline changes, YouTube is introducing a permanent spot on its US spotlight channel for LGBTQ+ videos to be refreshed weekly throughout the year. It’s also teaming up with The Trevor Project to offer crisis intervention to members of the community and to prevent LGBTQ+ youth suicides.