A group of creators from the LGBTQ community decided to file a lawsuit against YouTube in the United States. According to the plaintiffs, Google’s video platform has been “suppressing” content targeted at its audience.
In addition, the authors also accuse the site of making it difficult to monetize videos that use the words “gay”, “bisexual” and “transgender” in the title. This turns out to be a violation of California state law:
YouTube uses illegal content regulation, distribution and monetization practices that financially stigmatize, restrict, block, demystify and financially harm LGBTQ producers and the community accessing the platform. […] YouTube is also involved in discriminatory, anti-competitive conduct and unlawful harming a class of persons protected under California law.
This is not the first time US creators of LGBTQ have accused YouTube of sexual discrimination. In 2018, some channels were decommissioned and even received platform blocking for containing “inappropriate content”.
Chase Ross said the platform did this due to the use of the word “transgender” in the title:
I don’t feel that people take us seriously and that needs to change. YouTube really needs to start paying attention to this community. So I don’t feel that I belong to a platform that LGBTQ and I have helped to create.
Other creators recalled a 2017 controversy when YouTube began running anti-LGBTQ ads in videos that were aimed at gay audiences. Recently, the platform was also accused of not acting against a YouTuber who threatened the death of a journalist working on sexual diversity issues.
When the case hit Twitter, YouTube was forced to de-demonize this channel and Google issued an apology on their social networks.
Commenting on the lawsuit, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki said the platform does not automatically disassemble LGBTQ content. In addition, she said there are no policies that prohibit certain words from being placed in the title.
We work hard to make sure that when our AI learns something – because so many of our decisions are made by algorithms – it must be fair. There should be no automatic demonetization.
In addition, Wojcicki has ensured that YouTube’s top moderation tools – recommendation and monetization – operate independently. This ensures that platform decisions try to be fair.
YouTube has always been home to many LGBTQ creators and that is why we are an exciting platform. We have always wanted to openly support this community.