YouTube Reacts To Complaints From Canada's Tegan And Sara
YouTube apologized late Monday for filtering out LGBT content — hours after Canadian pop duo Tegan and Sara tweeted complaints.
“If you put YouTube on restricted mode a bunch of our music videos disappear,” the openly gay sister act tweeted. “LGBTQ people shouldn’t be restricted. SAD!”
In YouTube’s restricted mode, which the company said filters out “sensitive” content, videos for Tegan and Sara’s “Alligator,” “That Girl” and “U-turn” can’t be viewed.
“None have ‘sensitive content’ in them,” they tweeted, “unless us dancing is ‘sensitive.’”
On Instagram, Canadian singer Ria Mae weighed in. “Young gay kids need to see themselves represented and they need to know it’s normal, it’s OK and it’s not X-rated,” she said. “It sends a bad message to young gay kids and young trans kids that their lives are not normal or acceptable.”
YouTube responded to the complaints with a statement that explained its Restricted Mode is designed to “filter out mature content for the tiny subset of users who want a more limited experience.” It said LGBT videos are available in Restricted Mode “but videos that discuss more sensitive issues may not be.”
Later, YouTube tweeted: “Sorry for all the confusion with Restricted Mode. Some videos have been incorrectly labeled and that’s not right. We're on it! More to come.”
This wasn’t good enough for YouTube celebrity Tyler Oakley, who tweeted: “oops! you did this wrong. how to fix this: admit you messed up, apologize without excuses, immediately stop enforcing the ineffective policy.”
Tegan and Sara agreed. “Glad u guys are looking into your mistake. But perhaps u should also share how u will determine what is ‘sensitive’ and will b restricted?”
In a blog post, Johanna Wright, vice-president of product management at YouTube, explained: “The bottom line is that this feature isn’t working the way it should. We’re sorry and we’re going to fix it.”
Wright admitted YouTube’s system “sometimes make mistakes in understanding context and nuances when it assesses which videos to make available in Restricted Mode.” She said Tegan and Sara’s “BWU” video is one example of a video that should not have been filtered.
“While the system will never be 100 percent perfect … we must and will do a better job.”