#CensorTube

Has YouTube begun to properly censor out people’s voices?

YouTube is amongst the top dog when it comes to be known as an open video-uploading platform and live stream site, rivalled only by Twitch, a primarily gamer-only platform dedicated to live-streaming. However, as of recent YouTube has begun somewhat of a over-determinated path of self-destruction, or at least in the eyes of its users.

On March 17th, YouTube rolled out its new family-safe mode which it called the Restricted Mode — A mode dedicated to restricting content flagged by YouTube as sensitive or not-for-child consumption.

However, the content that got blocked the most overall, was stuff pertaining to LGBT+, Mental Health and Sex Education, stuff that when you watch back is focused primarily on those only effected by these issues. This censorship of content, which YouTube over the last year or so has prided itself on championing for did not sit well with creators and viewers alike.

The most popular case in this episode of censorship was Callum McSwiggan. Calum points out in one of his recent videos titled “This Video Is Too Gay For Kids”, that:

“if you go into your settings, and turn YouTube’s restricted filter on, you will notice every single one of my videos disappear, except for one”
“we’re not sure why this is happening, but it seems to be happening to any content that focuses on sexuality, gender or anything else to do with being LGBT+”

In his video, he also points out that it is not only content that is being erased, but people’s sexual identities on their channels as well. The YouTuber he mentions, Melanie Murphy is bisexual, which correlates well within the content of her channel showcasing her sexual identity. But when the restrictive mode is on, it erasing her bisexuality, and “straight-washes” her channel. For more information, you can watch Calum’s video here. (Just make sure you have Restricted mode off)

(Source: Calum McSwiggan: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=woilZ9mU2-U)

While it is important to not the erasure, it can be agreed this filter is extremely one sided. Many on Twitter were quick to call it out by showcasing what was left after using the restricted mode. What people saw was primarily right-wing in some cases, with people like Tomi Lahren, a ditsy right-wing loud mouth who is nothing more than the GOP’s mirror of hate, was left on the platform,

along with a massive amount of what could be considered racist hate-speech. People were still able as well to search up videos pertaining to Nazism as well. Why is this content left up, yet community-based content like Calum’s is taken down?

Ash Hardell, another LGBT+ user most effected by the Restricted mode commented on this issue. In the past, YouTube would censor content that it deemed as “inappropriate or harmful” according to Ash. However, as of 22nd March, YouTube replied, saying that:

“the mode screens out mature content”

(Explain the Nazism then still left on the platform then YouTube?)

In their most recent video “Why My Whole Channel Was Blocked”, Ash called this reply from YouTube:

“mature” how conveniently vague.. and diplomatic.. I suppose. Seeing as how a significant amount of LGBT+ videos disappear when the mode is enabled I guess that makes queer people mature, which is arguably less overtly offensive than calling us inappropriate or harmful, however still kind of messed up”

It is hard to argue with Ash’s logic as she continues to expand further into the issue in her video, and even analysed the restricted mode by comparing it to modern society’s expectations for children.

Further on in the video, she opens up about how society looks at children, in ways such as identity, and how when it is to do with very hetero-normative behaviour we tend to go “Awwh” and be very playful with children as they explore their gender and sexuality at a young age. Yet, when children openly say they fancy Mike or they want to be a Michelle, society is the first to say “This can wait until you’re older”, and it is no different with this restricted mode filter.

“most (LGBT+) content is not intended for straight cis people — If they want to watch it and get educated SWEET!”

It is ultimately important that when faced with situations of censorship of communities that are doing nothing more than representing themselves, that we look past our own viewpoints to see their struggles, and to also remain open to their own ideals, so long as they’re not harmful. This is why it is difficult for many to support this form of censorship that YouTube has in place that neglectfully just bans all content of specific groups, rather than based upon overall and non-vague conditions.

If you want to watch Ash’s video, click down below for more!