YouTube offers its users the ability to enable a Restricted Mode, developed to protect users who want to avoid seeing mature content while browsing the service. This feature uses "community flagging, age-restrictions, and other signals to identify and filter out potentially inappropriate content".
About four days ago, some YouTubers started complaining that their videos with LGBTQ+ content were being classified as "sensitive" by the company and, therefore, were being blocked for those users who chose to enable the Restricted Mode. Yesterday, the company went to Twitter to apologize for the situation and tried to explain what happened.
Unfortunately, as YouTube has stated, some videos may remain flagged as "sensitive content" because they "discuss more sensitive issues". But the company's tweet has sparked an ongoing discussion about what content is really being blocked and why.
This is not the first time Google has been accused of discrimination by the LGBTQ+ community, though. Back in 2015, the company has apologized after tens of thousands of users complained that Google Translator was relating offensive and inappropriate terms.
YouTube has yet to comment on the backlash regarding the tweet and on possible changes to its flagging system to revert the current situation.
Update: YouTube has released another statement explaining the issue further and committing to fix it. As stated by the company:
"The bottom line is that this feature [Restricted Mode] isn’t working the way it should. We’re sorry and we’re going to fix it."
According to the statement, the flagging system sometimes fails to understand the context and nuances while assessing which videos to make available in Restricted Mode. Also, the company has provided some examples of videos that were incorrectly flagged.
Finally, YouTube admits the system will never be perfect, but that it will do a better job on it.