YouTube HQ Shooting Is Terrible Twist Over ‘Demonetization’

A woman shot three people, then herself, at YouTube's California headquarters.

Law enforcement stands watch outside of the YouTube headquarters on April 3, 2018 in San Bruno, California. Police are investigating an active shooter incident at YouTube headquarters that has left at least one person dead and several wounded. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
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The real world horror of Tuesday’s YouTube headquarters shooting may have streamed out of an disgruntled reaction by an unstable user to a change in the online giant’s policies.

Police identified 39-year-old Nasim Najafi Aghdam as the attacker who shot three people and herself at YouTube headquarters in California. The shooter had a strong online personality with multiple YouTube channels, websites and social media accounts that were dedicated to her different interests like bodybuilding, vegan activism, crafts and free speech. Since the shooting, all of her accounts have been suspended, reports Business Insider. 

But there may have been warning signs offline: Aghdam’s father told media that his daughter had strongly criticized YouTube for apparently “censoring her videos online.” Business Insider writes that she referenced an ongoing debate about the changes YouTube has made to its policies over the past two years, changes that have made it more difficult for some creators to make money from their videos.

YouTube changed its rules in February so that creators need at least 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours in watch-time in order to make money off ads that play on their videos. At the time of the policy change, small creators complained they would not be able to make these requirements. Minority creators also felt disproportionately affected by these changes, Business Insider reports.

The rules have widely been called YouTube’s “demonetization” policy. YouTube also tightened their policies about appropriate content and hate speech.  Not every critic, however, handled the changes rationally. According to Buzzfeed, Aghdam claimed videos showing her exercising had been age-restricted by what she called “close-minded YouTube employees.”

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