Several prominent LGBTQI vloggers have claimed that YouTube is using the site's restricted mode to hide some of their video content.
The vloggers have taken to Twitter to call out YouTube for allegedly restricting their content with the #YouTubeIsOverParty hashtag trending worldwide in support of the LGBTI+ community.
According to Google, which owns YouTube, restricted mode is optional and helps users to screen out “potentially objectionable content” on the video sharing site.
Google says that it uses three criteria to censor videos in the mode: “community flagging”, “age-restrictions” and the vague-sounding “other signals”. In addition, it notes that computers in libraries, universities and other public institutions may have restricted mode enabled by default.
A YouTube spokesperson says: “Restricted Mode is an optional feature used by a very small subset of users who want to have a more limited YouTube experience. Some videos that cover subjects like health, politics and sexuality may not appear for users and institutions that choose to use this feature."
Tyler Oakley, one of YouTube’s biggest stars, was one of the first to realise one of his newest videos was blocked under the restricted mode.
He took to Twitter to voice his concerns:
British YouTuber Rowan Ellis says she has had 40 videos taken off the platform under the new policy.
Others on Twitter are calling for a boycott of the platform:
youtube: *makes videos saying lgbt people should be proud of who they are*— • jackie (@cuddleswithphan) March 19, 2017
also youtube: *restricts lgbt videos* #YouTubeIsOverParty
This is so disappointing.We are trying 2 move forward but instead are taking steps back. LOVE is LOVE. Screw you YouTube #YouTubeIsOverParty— LaurenNY-HoodieMelo7 (@AaliyahNevaeh7) March 19, 2017
This is not the first time YouTube has felt the wrath of the vlogger community. Last year it faced a backlash from content creators following an update to its advertising policy, which made it harder for users to monetise their videos.
It comes at a difficult time for Google as more brands, publishers and holding groups are questioning whether to advertise on the platform following findings that ads are unwittingly being placed against inappropriate content.
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