YouTube Takes Heat From Tegan & Sara, Creators Over 'Restricted' LGBTQ Videos

Amy Lombard
Tegan & Sara photographed on Oct. 22, 2016 in St. Louis.

YouTube is taking fire from many of its biggest creators over concerns that its filtering system is unnecessarily shielding certain LGBTQ-related videos from users. The issue stems from YouTube's "Restricted Mode" feature, which it says is an "optional feature used by a very small subset of users who want to have a more limited YouTube experience." As many YouTubers began pointing out beginning late last week, that feature, when activated, is censoring videos merely referencing same-sex issues, including coming-out videos.

The video giant's "Restricted Mode" uses "community flagging, age-restrictions, and other signals to identify and filter out potentially inappropriate content" and is a popular tool among parents, schools and libraries to avoid blatantly NSFW content from surfacing. Responding to criticism (and the hashtag #YouTubeIsOverParty) on Sunday, YouTube insisted that "LGBTQ+ videos are available in Restricted Mode, but videos that discuss more sensitive issues may not be. We regret any confusion this has caused and are looking into your concerns."

YouTube's explanation was met with frustration from many top creators (see below), along with Canadian pop-rock duo Tegan and Sara, which noticed on Sunday that its video for the song U-Turn had been restricted. "Nothing gay in it accept us. Our dancing IS pretty bad. Must be why? @youtube is it our dancing?" they asked on Twitter.

Here's YouTube's statement, plus a selection of complaints:

Gay Pride Month 2017