A group of LGBTQ+ YouTube creators has alleged in a federal lawsuit that YouTube and Google have discriminated against themselves and fellow LGBTQ+ influencers.
The filing claims that YouTube is unfairly restricting their ability to monetise their content, as well as making it harder for their content to reach wider audiences.
They believe that the algorithm created by YouTube unfairly demonetises their videos containing LGBTQ+ issues and discussions, flagging them as inappropriate to advertisers.
As a result, this stops creators from earning revenue from videos, while homophobic content is allowed to profit on the site.
Accusing YouTube and Google are GNews! producers Celso Dulay and Chris Knight, Bria Kam, Chrissy Chambers, Brett Somers, Chase Ross and Lindsay Amer, who made their announcement on the site with a video.
Speaking to Forbes, Ross said, “the lawsuit is about making sure we’re not censored as a community. I found YouTube at 15 and it saved my life,"
“I hear from people every day that they want to make a channel but they’re afraid of getting their content restricted, and it breaks my heart."
The group is represented by Peter Obstler, who said that while Google is a private company, YouTube operates to four values in a mission statement, regarding freedom of expression and freedom of opportunity.
However, Obstler stated to Buzzfeed News that, “if they want to be a private company, they should tell people ‘we discriminate.’”
In response, Alex Joseph, a YouTube representative said, “we’re proud that so many LGBTQ creators have chosen YouTube as a place to share their stories and build a community. All content on our site is subject to the same policies.
“Our policies have no notion of sexual orientation or gender identity and our systems do not restrict or demonetize videos based on these factors or the inclusion of terms like ‘gay’ or ‘transgender.
“In addition, we have strong policies prohibiting hate speech, and we quickly remove content that violates our policies and terminate accounts that do so repeatedly.”
Despite Joseph’s claims, creators have noticed videos have been immediately removed of earning money based off titles for creators who discuss sex or same-gender relationships, or their thumbnails being changed as they’re “inappropriate for viewers”.