clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

White House’s graphic montage of video game violence being blocked for some users

YouTube’s Restricted Mode kicked in

The White House released a video montage today of violent scenes from video games as a way to demonstrate its stance on video game violence — but not everyone can see it.

Those using computers with YouTube’s Restricted Mode switched on won’t be able to watch the video. Restricted mode is often times used by organizations such as schools and libraries to block obscene or disturbing videos in places where adult supervision can’t be guaranteed. The mode has been around since 2010.

The montage collects scenes of graphic violence from various games, including multiple Call of Duty titles — with a lengthy segment dedicated to the infamous “No Russian” mission from 2009’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 — as well as Wolfenstein: The New Order, Dead by Daylight, Fallout 4 and Sniper Elite 4.

It’s no surprise the video ended up in Restricted Mode considering the montage of scenes, but it’s important to note that the mode is disabled by default. People have to manually enforce it, although institutions like the ones mentioned above can do it as a group. The YouTube support site states that videos end up in Restricted Mode because “our automated system looks at signals like the video’s metadata, title, and the language used in the video,” and decides if it’s inappropriate for viewers.

“Additionally, some videos may not be available in Restricted Mode as a result of human reviewers applying an age-restriction to a video,” the blog post reads.

An age gate, which requires that people log in to confirm they’re over the age of 18, hasn’t been applied to the video at the time of this writing, Polygon confirmed. Age gates are implemented on videos that contain “dramatized depictions of violence,” according to a separate blog post.

“Much like movies and TV, graphic or disturbing content that contains violence, gore, or shocking content is not suitable for minors and will be age-restricted,” the page reads.

It’s a little ironic that the video isn’t age-gated, considering that the meeting was held to discuss the possible effects of video game violence on young people. The blog post also confirms that a “video that is not available in Restricted Mode is not necessarily age-restricted.”

YouTube has previously addressed gratuitous video game violence, like in montages, but the company is primarily focused on advertising. The White House’s video is unlisted and not running ads, so it isn’t as big of a concern. YouTube’s advertising guidelines do state, however, that videos like the one above are not appropriate for advertisers.

“Violence in the normal course of video gameplay is generally acceptable for advertising, but montages where gratuitous violence is the focal point is not,” YouTube’s rules say.

Polygon has reached out to YouTube to see if an age gate will be put on the video.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for Patch Notes

A weekly roundup of the best things from Polygon