YouTube’s controversial “restricted mode” setting may soon be a thing of the past.
Following days of backlash over the setting, which many LGBTQ creators realised hides some of their videos, the video giant on Monday night issued an actual apology on its blog.
“The bottom line is that this feature isn’t working the way it should,” Johanna Wright, YouTube’s Vice President of Product Management, . “We’re sorry and we’re going to fix it.”
“We’re sorry and we’re going to fix it.”
Big digital influencers ranging from Tyler Oakely to unofficial YouTube voice of reason Hank Green, as well as musicians such as Tegan and Sara (whose videos were also affected), spoke up about the policy over the weekend.
Many creators argue this is YouTube’s way of equating LGBTQ content as “not family-friendly.”
In inadvertently censoring many creators, the platform had gone against its fundamental democratic motto: “Broadcast Yourself.”
Once attention was drawn to the setting, many began questioning how and when it even came to be.
YouTube answered this in its blog post, explaining the feature launched in 2010 as an option “to help institutions like schools as well as people who wanted to better control the content they see on YouTube.”
The platform admitted it “sometimes makes mistakes in understanding context and nuances, when it assesses which videos to make available in Restricted Mode.”
In the blog, Wright emphasized only 1.5 percent of YouTube’s daily views come from people who have Restricted Mode turned on.
After investigating the complaints, YouTube found it did indeed “get it wrong” with a handful of videos including 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].”
“While the system will never be 100 percent perfect, as we said up top, we must and will do a better job … Thanks to your feedback, we’ve manually reviewed the example videos mentioned above and made sure they’re now available in Restricted Mode,” Wright wrote.
“We’ll also be using this input to better train our systems. 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.”