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News & Events

An update on Restricted Mode

By Johanna Wright

Vice President of Product Management At YouTube

It’s been a few weeks since we posted about Restricted Mode so we wanted to give everyone an update on where things are. Restricted Mode is designed to be an optional feature that helps filter out more mature content from view, so that institutions like schools and libraries as well as people who prefer a more limited experience would feel comfortable offering access to YouTube. We want to clarify that Restricted Mode should not filter out content belonging to individuals or groups based on certain attributes like gender, gender identity, political viewpoints, race, religion or sexual orientation.

What we’re fixing
Back in March, our community alerted us that our systems were not working as intended, in particular, that we were unintentionally filtering content from Restricted Mode that shouldn't have been. After a thorough investigation, we started making several improvements to Restricted Mode. On the engineering side, we fixed an issue that was incorrectly filtering videos for this feature, and now 12 million additional videos of all types -- including hundreds of thousands featuring LGBTQ+ content -- are available in Restricted Mode.

We’re listening
We also spent time over the last few weeks talking with creators and third-party organizations to better understand their experiences and questions. One thing we heard loud and clear was people’s desire to report videos they believed were being inappropriately excluded from Restricted Mode. Starting today, we’re providing a form to allow creators and viewers alike to give us feedback about this. We will use this input to help improve our automated system going forward.

More transparency about how Restricted Mode works
We also heard that many people simply wanted to know what gets a video taken out of Restricted Mode. Here are some clearer guidelines creators should think about if they want their videos to appear in Restricted Mode:

Discussion and depiction of mature topics:


  • Drugs and alcohol: If you’re talking about drug use or abuse, or if you’re drinking alcohol in your videos, your videos will likely not be available in Restricted Mode.
  • Sex: While some educational, straightforward conversations about sexual education may be included in Restricted Mode, overly detailed conversations about sex or sexual activity will likely be removed. This is one of the more difficult topics to train our systems on, and context is key. If your music video features adult themes like sex or drug use, that video will likely not make it into Restricted Mode.
  • Violence: If your video includes graphic descriptions of violence, violent acts, natural disasters and tragedies, or even violence in the news, it will likely not appear in Restricted Mode.
  • Mature subjects: Videos that cover specific details about events related to terrorism, war, crime, and political conflicts that resulted in death or serious injury may not be available on Restricted Mode, even if no graphic imagery is shown.
  • Profane and mature language: Inappropriate language including profanity like “F bombs” will also likely result in your video not being available in Restricted Mode.


Thanks to you, our community of fans and creators, we’ve made progress over the last few weeks. Though Restricted Mode will never be perfect, we hope to build on our progress so far to continue making our systems more accurate and the overall Restricted Mode experience better over time.