A YouTuber opened fire in YouTube’s California HQ on Tuesday, injuring three people before turning the gun on herself.
The shooter has been identified as 39-year-old woman Nasim Najafi Aghdam, who was able to enter the office and open fire on YouTube employees.
Speaking to the Bay Area News Group following the incident, the shooter’s father, Ismail Aghdam, said his daughter was deeply resentful toward the company. She had accused them of deliberately filtering her videos, resulting in fewer views and less advertising revenue.
On her website NasimeSabz.com, Nasim Najafi Aghdam offers a similar sentiment, complaining about the censorship of her content and even quoting Adolf Hitler, when she says “Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it”.
In January 2018, YouTube made changes to their monetisation policy after several large brands pulled advertising from the platform amid fears of being associated with offensive videos.
The revised creator guidelines lists types of content deemed unsuitable for advertising, like “controversial issues and sensitive events” such as, “war, political conflicts, terrorism or extremism, death and tragedies, sexual abuse, even if graphic imagery is not shown”.
Popular YouTuber Mundanematt, who has 78,344,640 views and over 100k subscribers, is an outspoken critic of YouTube’s monetisation policy.
He posted a video on the site back in January claiming that it would only hurt small creators. “I’m playing by your rules, but your rules are so vague it’s difficult to tell. Suddenly it becomes this huge mess of what to talk about.”
Mundanematt takes particular issue with YouTube’s movement away from using the number of views a channel receives to gauge its eligibility for advertising.
“If I was a new creator hoping to make this a job,” he says, “that statement right there, that paragraph right there would frighten me to the core”.
Another YouTuber, who told The Versed he wished to remain anonymous, had a mixed view on the policy changes. His channel has over 100 million views and more than 500k subscribers.
He claimed that sometimes his videos would be demonetised “after a few minutes”, meaning he’d have to apply to have it screened to re-monetise it, a process that can take up to 24 hours.
“Then I don’t get any ad revenue for the first day which is when most of the views come. It just seemed like they had some dodgy system doing it, randomly flagging videos which were fine”.
The extent to which Nasim Najafi Aghdam’s videos were ‘filtered’ is unclear, as is the amount of potential advertising revenue she claims to have lost, but San Bruno Police confidently confirm her anger at this as her motive.
YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki posted to Twitter in the hours following the incident to say, “There are no words to describe how horrible it was to have an active shooter @YouTube today. Our deepest gratitude to law enforcement & first responders for their rapid response.”
President Donald Trump also took to Twitter, thanking the “phenomenal Law Enforcement Officers and First Responders” as well as sending out his “thoughts and prayers” with “everybody involved”.
The shooting was America’s 58th mass shooting in 2018 where at least three people have been injured. 32 of those shootings resulted in fatalities. Since the 1st of January 2018, 141 people have been killed in mass shootings in America.
The data provided above shows that these shootings are concentrated around Urban areas or large cities, are carried out mostly by white Americans and are increasing in number year on year.