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YouTube Says Some LGBTQ Videos Were ‘Incorrectly Labeled’ as Objectionable Content

Variety logo Variety 3/20/2017 Todd Spangler
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YouTube said Monday that some videos from LGBTQ creators had been “incorrectly labeled” as being objectionable content — resulting in those videos being blocked for users accessing the service using the “Restricted Mode” feature.

The Google-owned video service said in a Twitter post on Monday, “Sorry for all the confusion with Restricted Mode. Some videos have been incorrectly labeled and that’s not right. We’re on it! More to come.” There was no immediate word on how the LGBTQ videos in question were originally mislabeled.

The issue came to light last week after several LGBTQ creators noticed that their videos were not showing up in Restricted Mode, despite there being nothing evidently out of bounds in their videos except that they discuss issues of being gay, transgender, or bisexual. The videos unavailable in YouTube’s Restricted Mode include one of a lesbian couple reading each other their wedding vows, Gizmodo reported.

YouTube describes Restricted Mode as a feature to help users “screen out potentially objectionable content that you may prefer not to see or don’t want others in your family to see on YouTube.” The site says it uses community flagging, age restrictions, and other signals to identify and filter out potentially inappropriate content.

On Sunday, YouTube issued a statement saying it was investigating why certain LGBTQ videos were being blocked in Restricted Mode. “We are so proud to represent LGBTQ+ voices on our platform — they’re a key part of what YouTube is all about,” YouTube said in a tweet. “The intention of Restricted Mode is to filter out mature content for the tiny subset of users who want a more limited experience…. LGBTQ+ videos are available in Restricted Mode, but videos that discuss more sensitive issues may not be.”

YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki weighed in on the issue on Sunday, quoting the earlier statement and adding, “I wanted to reemphasize this message to our community. The LGBT community means a lot to YouTube and I’m pushing our teams to investigate.”

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