It appeals that we are being discriminated against on YouTube, that is according to some trans people.
Why Has ‘Transgender’ Become a Trigger Word for YouTube?And he isn’t the only one noticing this.
‘I feel like trans people and others under the LGBT umbrella are getting their videos demonetized, because they don’t follow the straight, white way of life,’ says Chase Ross.
The Daily Beast
By Chris Stokel-Walker
June 2, 2018
Chase Ross is embroiled in a dispute with YouTube that seems to show the platform’s algorithm discriminates against transgender users like him.
On May 30, Ross uploaded a video comparing his emotional wellbeing now to five years ago, when he underwent surgery and transitioned from female to male.
The video, originally titled “FIVE YEARS POST-OP EMOTIONAL COMPARISON”, was approved for monetization by YouTube, meaning adverts would be served alongside the video. But then he decided to amend the title, adding in “(FTM TRANSGENDER)” to the end.
“The second I added 'trans' in the title the second time, it was demonetized,” he explains. Although the demonetization has affected Ross’s income – one other video that fell foul of YouTube’s algorithm earned him just $1.15 for more than 200,000 views, he revealed on Twitter – the broader issue of censoring trans videos concerned him more.
This isn’t the first time that the video sharing platform has been accused of bias against its minority creators. In March 2017 Tyler Oakley, one of YouTube’s biggest personalities, tweeted that one of his videos highlighting LGBTQ+ trailblazers was blocked because YouTube allegedly did not show videos containing phrases that had anything to do with LGBTQ+.Is YouTube discriminating against us?
The same month, British LGBTQ+ creator Rowan Ellis, who has 31,000 subscribers, uploaded a video claiming that at least 40 of her videos had been siloed into YouTube’s restricted content mode, which the platform claims helps remove “potentially objectionable content”.
A year on from those initiatives, YouTube’s algorithm still seems by default to be flagging up videos containing the word “transgender” as something not suitable for all audiences.So blame it on the Artificial Intelligence.
“We do not have a list of LGBTQ+ related words that trigger demonetization, and we are constantly evaluating our systems to ensure they are enforcing our policies without bias,” a YouTube spokesperson told The Daily Beast. “We use machine learning to evaluate content against our advertiser guidelines” – indicating that the site’s algorithms may have incorrectly flagged up the video for falling foul of rules the site checks videos against to make sure it’s advertiser-friendly.
Is this the future? When something goes wrong are we going to blame it on the AI?