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YouTube under fire for hiding LGBT videos

Photo-illustration (REUTERS/dado Ruvic).

YouTube comes under fire for hiding of LGBT-related videos in ‘Limited’ Mode, which is designed to screen offensive content.

“People are just starting to realize the extent of it, in particular with regard to LGBT-related content, and that is the limited content mode,” according to the British video blogger and activist Rowan Ellis, in a YouTube post on Thursday. “It is to filter out a hell of a lot of LGBT content, I have about 40 videos taken, so you can’t see them if you are in the Restricted Mode.”

The blogger’s YouTube channel has accumulated more than 1.4 million views. Her videos address “pop culture from a feminist and queer perspective,” according to her bio on YouTube.

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The limited Mode is an optional feature that users can activate on their YouTube accounts in order to prevent content deemed offensive. According to YouTube, Restricted Mode that aims to “help 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 video-sharing service makes use of reviews of the community, age restrictions and other signals to identify and filter out potentially inappropriate content, according to its website.

The apparent categorisation of a number of LGBT-videos if the Restricted Mode content has led to outrage.

YouTube personality Tyler Oakley, whose YouTube channel has more than 8 million subscribers, tweeted Sunday that one of his videos had also been “blocked” by the video sharing service.

until we hear back from @youtube take an active check on all LGBT+ creators you have subscribed to and continue to support their content.

— Tyler Oakley (@tyleroakley) March 19, 2017

Anger over the hidden LGBT videos prompted the hashtag “#YouTubeyisOver” on Twitter.

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In a tweet sent Sunday, YouTube Creators said that it is looking into the issues about the Limited Mode, and LGBT content. “We regret any confusion caused and are looking into your problems,” he said.

A message to our community … pic.twitter.com/oHNiiI7CVs

— YouTube Creators (@YTCreators) March 20, 2017

YouTube Creators explained that it is “proud to be part of LGBTQ+ voices on our platform — they are an important part of what YouTube is about.”

The restricted Mode is used by “a very small part of the users who want a more limited YouTube experience,” according to a YouTube statement by e-mail to Fox News. “Videos with LGBT topics are available in the Restricted Mode; however, some videos that cover topics such as health, politics and sexuality may not be shown for users and institutions who choose to use this feature,” it added.

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YouTube, owned by Google, has more than a billion users.

Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers

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