YouTube often takes action against videos that violate its guidelines , and has well-established procedures for doing so. The “YouTubers” who produce videos and post them on the site aren’t always happy about its decisions, but their discontent rarely leads to violence.
That may have changed April 2nd, when Nasim Aghdam — herself a YouTuber — shot and wounded three people at YouTube headquarters in San Bruno, California, before killing herself.
The 39-year-old told family members that she believed the company was suppressing her videos, which included segments about veganism, animal cruelty and exercise, along with glamor shots of herself. There’s no evidence that YouTube was actually doing this, and the company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
But Aghdam’s father said his daughter was angry that YouTube stopped paying for videos she posted on the platform and warned police she might go to the company’s headquarters. Here’s a brief explanation of YouTube’s video policies and the steps it can take against violators.
The tragic shooting highlights the often difficult balance that YouTube tries to strike between protecting freedom of expression and barring videos that violate its prohibitions against violence, extremism and other objectionable material.
YouTube, which is owned by Google, doesn’t allow nudity, hate speech, violent behavior, harassment or bullying or impersonating others, among other things. Posting copyrighted material is also forbidden. But the site has over a billion users in 88 countries and 1 billion hours watched daily, it says, and that can be difficult to police.
“The scale of the challenge is something that’s hard for anyone to wrap their minds around,” said Paul Verna, a principal analyst at eMarketer. “It’s a little bit like the game whack-a-mole.”
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