Should YouTube get rid of 'Restricted Mode'?
via AP

Should YouTube get rid of 'Restricted Mode'?

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The LGBTQ community is calling out YouTube for censoring their content under the platform's Restricted Mode—which is meant to "filter out mature content for the tiny subset of users who want a more limited experience." YouTube says it is not censoring anyone, the overly strict restrictions were simply a mistake. Content creators are calling for an immediate fix or YouTube to dump it completely, because the system is obviously broken. What do you think?

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While LGBTQ creators were the first to raise the alarm about Restricted Mode, many other content creators have seen their videos affected as well. Political pundits like Paul Joseph Watson, H3H3 Productions, Pewdiepie and other non-political channels have their videos hidden under Restricted Mode for no apparent reason.  

It’s a feature that’s been around for at least a year, but YouTube producers haven’t been feeling the hurt until now. Since YouTube ramped up the mode’s restrictions, several LGBT bloggers discovered that their content was blocked, and accused the platform of hiding their videos.

People are speculating YouTube is caving in to advertisers who want a safer advertising experience. 

Despite complaints from the LGBT community, it’s clear that restricted mode isn’t specifically targeting queer content. It’s difficult to say whether the restrictions are the fault of Google’s algorithms or whether they are simply cracking down on anything remotely offensive to appease advertisers.

YouTube is in an impossible situation where it has to balance the needs of corporate advertisers against the needs of its community. At the end of the day, YouTube needs to pay the bills and that means making an ad-friendly environment on its platform. Restricted Mode isn't censorship, it's just business. 

Technology companies across the board have been facing increasing scrutiny over their roles in promoting or facilitating terrorist groups online. Last June, family members of some of the victims of the Pulse nightclub killings in Florida filed a lawsuit against Google, Twitter, and Facebook for providing “material support” to the terrorist organization known as ISIS. The same month, the father of a U.S. citizen who was killed in the Paris terrorist attacks in November 2015 announced plans to sue Twitter, Facebook, and Google for the same reason. Earlier in the year, the families of two U.S.-based contractors killed in a suspected terrorist attack in Jordan announced they were suing Twitter for “knowingly” allowing ISIS to attract new recruits.

The YouTube community team released a statement saying it's not targeting any particular community, nor is it censoring creators. Restricted Mode is effectively a parental control option and it's something that has to be done as YouTube grows and needs to reach a wider audience. 

The YouTube community responded to the statement, saying: 

The YouTube Community team say it's working on the problem. But this is the latest of many YouTube missteps surrounding ads and censorship. 

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