Youtube Blocking LGBTQ+ Content

The example that was given in last class about Twitter’s censorship or lack thereof reminded me of this incident. Awhile back, there was an issue with sites like Youtube, Tumblr, and Twitter blocking and removing specifically LGBT content in their “restricted” or “safe” modes. This happened primarily with Youtube. Once turned on, all videos with LGBT content would disappear regardless of whether or not they contained sensitive content such as nudity, violence, etc.

Some articles I found that summed up the problem:
1) https://theestablishment.co/why-are-tumblr-twitter-and-youtube-blocking-lgbtq-content-e54e7acf4b5c
2) https://www.cnet.com/news/youtube-apologizes-for-blocking-lgbtq-videos/

Further inspection of these articles shows that regardless of apology, people were not happy. So, they decided to change and update this.

Some more articles:
1) http://www.newnownext.com/youtube-updates-restricted-mode-policy-blocked-lgbt-videos/04/2017/
2) https://www.theguardian.com/music/2017/mar/21/youtube-changes-restrictions-gay-lgbtq-themed-content-tegan-sarah

A user on Twitter (@prozdkp) made a tweet a few weeks back that said some of his content was still restricted, despite the change going through. I wondered if this was just a flaw in the system, like the top articles suggest, and that some videos regardless of anything will fall through due to the platforms themselves just being imperfect. I found this likely, though I also thought there could be some underlying stuff going on. Sounds pretty conspiratory, but I digress— I decided to check it out for myself.

gay 1gay 2

Of course this is in no way comprehensive. Obviously. I just picked a word. I did a few others (like homosexual kiss, lesbian, non binary, etc) and the results were… always skewed. Sometimes there was more content with the restricted mode on.

I’m going to settle on a flawed platform system. There are a lot of things at play here, obviously. Things like tags on the video, how many views a video has, how many people report it regardless of actual content, will affect whether or not it shows up.

So, if the problem is now fixed, why did it happen in the first place? Youtube has given no explanation for this… at least not one that makes sense, or is comprehensive. I still wonder how and why LGBTQ+ content specifically was picked out. I suppose that’s why I’m still side-eyeing a conspiracy theory.

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