YouTube Investigating Restrictions on Gay-Themed Content | NBC 10 Philadelphia

YouTube Investigating Restrictions on Gay-Themed Content

The "restricted" designation lets parents, schools and libraries filter out content that isn't appropriate for users under 18

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    Danny Moloshok/AP
    This Oct. 21, 2015 photo shows signage with a logo at the YouTube Space LA offices in Los Angeles.

    The YouTube video shows two women, dressed in suits and ties. They smile; they sniffle back tears; they gaze into each other's eyes. They are reading their wedding vows to one another.

    The four-minute video titled "Her Vows" contains no nudity, violence or swearing. There's no revealing clothing. No one is engaging in activities that have a "high risk of injury or death." And yet, YouTube has deemed the video unsuitable for people under 18.

    New Artificial Wombs Stimulates Mom for Preemies

    [NATL] New Artificial Wombs Stimulates Mom for Preemies

    A new invention from the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia may soon care for extremely premature babies. Artificial wombs stimulate an environment similar to a mother's womb - a method that researchers say is gentler than ventilators and incubators. 

    (Published Tuesday, April 25, 2017)

    Several YouTube users, many of them in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, have been complaining that their videos are categorized as "restricted" for no obvious reasons. Besides the vows, targeted videos include coming out stories and one from YouTube celebrity Tyler Oakley titled "8 Black LGBTQ+ Trailblazers Who Inspire Me."

    After several days of complaints, Google hinted Monday that it might have made a mistake and said it was investigating.

    The "restricted" designation lets parents, schools and libraries filter out content that isn't appropriate for users under 18. Turning on the restriction makes videos inaccessible. YouTube calls it "an optional feature used by a very small subset of users."

    It's unclear whether the types of videos in question are now being categorized as "restricted" for the first time, or whether this is a long-standing policy that is only now getting attention.

    Teens Overcoming Opioids Seek Treatment in Recovery Schools

    [NATL] Teens Overcoming Opioid Dependence Seek Treatment in 'Recovery Schools'

    A new method for battling teenage opioid abuse comes not in the form of a new drug or counseling method, but in special "recovery schools" that emphasize communal support and positive peer pressure. 

    (Published Tuesday, April 25, 2017)

    The complaints spawned the hashtag #YouTubeIsOverParty over the weekend. One person even made a video to voice her complaints.

    YouTube said in a tweet Sunday that LGBTQ videos aren't automatically filtered out, though some discussing "more sensitive issues" might be restricted. But the company, which is owned by Google, did not specify what it counts as "more sensitive issues."

    In an emailed statement on Monday, YouTube said "some videos that cover subjects like health, politics and sexuality may not appear for users and institutions that choose to use this feature." In the case of LGBT topics, which are by definition intertwined with health, politics and sexuality, filtering out what is and isn't appropriate can be difficult.

    YouTube followed that statement with another hours later: "We recognize that some videos are incorrectly labeled by our automated system and we realize it's very important to get this right. We're working hard to make some improvements." The statement offered no further explanation.

    New Orleans to Remove Confederate-Era Monuments

    [NATL] New Orleans to Remove Confederate-Era Monuments

    The city of New Orleans will remove four statues of Confederate-era events and figures in an effort to divorce itself from symbols that some see as problematic. The first statue, the Liberty Place Monument, was taken down early Monday morning. 

    (Published Monday, April 24, 2017)

    YouTube content creators can decide to age-restrict their videos themselves. But that's just one of the ways sensitive content is filtered out. YouTube says it also uses "community flagging," which means users who have a problem with content in a video can flag it to YouTube for possible restrictions or removal.

    But just because something is flagged, it is not automatically removed. Once a video is flagged, YouTube says it reviews it.

    "If no violations are found by our review team, no amount of flagging will change that and the video will remain on our site," YouTube says in its online support page.

    What sorts of content gets filtered out in restricted mode can vary by region, based on countries' varying community standards. In general, though, it includes "sexually explicit language or excessive profanity," or violence or disturbing content, according to YouTube's policies.

    Driver Flees Traffic Stop, Dragging Police Officer

    [NATL-DFW] Driver Flees Traffic Stop, Dragging Police Officer

    Body camera footage shows a Florida police officer being dragged by a driver attempting to flee a traffic stop.

    Police said Frank Wetzel, 61, was pulled over after blowing through a stop sign. Police said he started fidgeting with something next to him, making the officer suspicious. He was allegedly later found with a machete and handgun.

    (Published Monday, April 24, 2017)

    YouTube's rules also state that videos "containing nudity or dramatized sexual conduct may be age-restricted when the context is appropriately educational, documentary, scientific or artistic. Videos featuring individuals in minimal or revealing clothing may also be age-restricted if they're intended to be sexually provocative, but don't show explicit content."

    Videos that show adults engaging in "activities that have a high risk of injury or death" may also be age-restricted.