YouTube has responded to the recent criticism of the scope of its Restricted Mode.
Following recent criticism regarding the way YouTube’s “Restricted Mode” limitied access to LGBTQ+ videos, YouTube has responded via Twitter and the official YouTube Creator Blog.
Restricted Mode, a feature YouTube has offered since 2010, was created with the intention to “screen out potentially objectionable content that you may prefer not to see or don’t want others in your family to see on YouTube”. However, as many creators from the LGBTQ+ community noticed that their videos were being targeted and unfairly censored, many creators began questioning the nature of YouTube’s “strict” Restricted Mode setting.
Restricted Mode: What's going on and how we're working to fix it → https://t.co/ciHPcLj71t
— YouTube Creators (@YTCreators) March 21, 2017
Johanna Wright, Vice President of Product Management at YouTube, wrote a blog post on the issue on 21 March, stating: “The bottom line is that this feature isn’t working the way it should. We’re sorry and we’re going to fix it.
“We introduced Restricted Mode back in 2010 as an optional feature to help institutions like schools as well as people who wanted to better control the content they see on YouTube. We designed this feature to broadly restrict content across more mature topics, whether these are videos that contain profanity, those that depict images or descriptions of violence, or discussion of certain diseases like addictions and eating disorders. Today, about 1.5% of YouTube’s daily views come from people who have Restricted Mode turned on. But we know this isn’t about numbers; it’s about the principle of anyone having access to important content and different points of view.”
Johanna gave some specific examples of where YouTube’s restrictions have clearly failed: “Our system sometimes make mistakes in understanding context and nuances when it assesses which videos to make available in Restricted Mode. For instance, the following videos are examples of where we got it wrong: Ash Hardell’s Her Vows, Calum McSwiggan’s Coming Out To Grandma, Jono and Ben’s Woman interrupted during BBC interview, and Tegan and Sara’s BWU [OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO].”
Johanna concluded by saying, “While the system will never be 100% perfect, as we said up top, we must and will do a better job. […] It will take time to fully audit our technology and roll out new changes, so please bear with us. There’s nothing more important to us than being a platform where anyone can belong, have a voice and speak out when they believe something needs to be changed. We truly appreciate your help keeping the YouTube community active and engaged on topics that matter to creators and YouTube fans alike.”
I'm really over the moon with this second response from YouTube and proud of our community for pulling together to have this addressed 🙌🏻💚 https://t.co/wcPz75w83k
— Melanie Murphy (@melaniietweets) March 21, 2017
@YTCreators thanks for the transparency
— Evan Edinger (@EvanEdinger) March 20, 2017
@YTCreators but thank you 👌🏻
— Mandy Celine 🎥 (@itsamandything) March 20, 2017
Many of the creators who originally commented on the issues with Restricted Mode have responded to the post, including Calum McSwiggan, who stated that it was “nice to know our collective voices are being heard”, while Keemstar described it as a “step in the right direction”.
It's nice to know that our collective voices are being heard and that we are being listened to. Good job @YTCreators ❤️👍🏼
— Calum McSwiggan (@CalumMcSwiggan) March 21, 2017
@YTCreators 1 step in the right direction.
— KEEM 🍿 (@KEEMSTAR) March 21, 2017
Read our feature on positive and negative elements of YouTube finally going mainstream. Alternatively, find out more about the UK government removing their ads from YouTube..