When YouTube shut down LGBTQ video content
Members of the LGBTQ community thought YouTube turned to the dark side last March when it started blocking LGBTQ video content.
Nobody knows exactly when YouTube started restricting LGBTQ content. While there have always been restrictions in place, YouTube seemed to have targeted videos that had LGBTQ content in particular.
That’s why when people started noticing that their LGBTQ videos were showing up as invisible on the video platform, the whole thing blow up on social media.
The targeting of LGBTQ video content
One of the leading protesters of the YouTube restrictions were the lesbian music twins Tegan and Sera, who tweeted their sentiments.
“If you put @YouTube on restricted mode a bunch of our music videos disappear. … LGBTQ people shouldn’t be restricted. SAD!” they said.
Rowan Ellis, whose 40 videos went missing on YouTube, created a video called YouTube is Anti-Gay?
“I think it’s really important to look at why LGBT content has been deemed as inappropriate,” Ellis said.
“This is something which goes far beyond a mistake that YouTube might have made that they’re going to draw attention to and fix later,” she added.
Ellis also created the hashtag #YouTubePartyIsOver that soon trended. (The other one being #IsYouTubeOver?)
LGBTQ video content & a technical error
Following the backlash against the restrictions, YouTube explained that it was due to a technical error.
Last March 20, they came out with a tweet saying, ““Some videos have been incorrectly labelled and that’s not right. We’re on it! More to come.”
But while some videos were unblocked as YouTube had promised, some were still invisible. This prompted Tegan and Sera to react again on Twitter:
“Hey guys! We’re available to chat if you guys want to explain why advice sites like @everyoneisgay is now restricted. Or why our dancing is!”
LGBTQ video content explanation: Take two
Last April 21, YouTube released another statement. Johanna Wright, Vice President of Product Management, explained: “After a thorough investigation, we started making several improvements to Restricted Mode.”
“On the engineering side, we fixed an issue that was incorrectly filtering videos for this feature, and now 12 million additional videos of all types – including hundreds of thousands featuring LGBTQ+ content – are available in Restricted Mode,” Wright said.
YouTube also offered a form that LGBTQ YouTube creators could fill up if their videos were still missing or invisible.
Nobody knows if the YouTube restrictions were intentional or it was really an engineering problem. But it was definitely a PR headache for the company.
One thing’s for certain: it scared a lot of people in the LGBTQ community that thought a witch hunt was in progress.