A group of LGBTQ YouTubers is suing the platform for poorly moderating hateful content and unfairly restricting videos.
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This story originally appeared on PCMag
Several LGBTQ YouTube creators filed a lawsuit against Google yesterday, according to the Washington Post; they claim the company discriminated against them by restricting their content and not doing enough to staunch the flow of hate speech on the platform.
Several creators, including Bria Kam and Chrissy Chambers of BriaAndChrissy — a channel aimed at LGBTQ viewers — claim YouTube unfairly marked their videos as Restricted, limiting who could view them and how much money they could make. In the Post’s report, Kam and Chambers say they went from making $3,500 a month on their videos to $500.
Lindsay Amer, another plaintiff, said YouTube did nothing when Nazi trolls flooded her comments section with hate, which discouraged parents from letting their kids watch her channel. Others claim YouTube’s mysterious moderators targeted videos that included the words “gay,” “lesbian,” or “bisexual.”
The case also addresses Google’s broad, unchallenged position in online video uploading and streaming — something several political candidates, including Elizabeth Warren, have commented on.
“By controlling an estimated 95 percent of the public video communications that occur in the world, Google and YouTube wield unparalleled power and unfettered discretion to apply viewpoint-based content policies in a way that permits them to pick winners and losers,” Peter Obstler, the leading lawyer on the case, said in an interview with the Post.
YouTube has long struggled to moderate content appropriately: In June, the platform came under fire after it was slow to respond to a Vox journalist’s complaints that right-winger Stephen Crowder repeatedly insulted him based on his ethnicity and sexual orientation. The company has also been criticized for going light on its big stars, according to Engadget. And conservative creators have taken issue with YouTube’s content policing — another lawsuit from Prager University claims YouTube removed its videos because they contained conservative views.