YouTube shooting: How does the platform restrict video views and cut monetisation to content creators?

Nasim Aghdam wounds three people before taking her own life after ‘anger’ at company's policies

Tom Embury-Dennis@tomemburyd
Wednesday 04 April 2018 13:22
YouTube HQ: Suspect Nasim Aghdam appears in video accusing YouTube of discrimination

A woman who opened fire at YouTube’s California headquarters before taking her own life “hated” the company and believed it was suppressing her content.

Nasim Aghdam, a video blogger and animal rights activist, wounded three people during the shooting at the organisation’s Silicon Valley campus on Tuesday afternoon.

The 39-year-old was “angry” at YouTube because it had stopped paying her for videos she posted on the platform, according to her father. Ismail Aghdam said he had earlier warned local police she might target the Google-owned organisation.

A 36-year-old man was in critical condition, a 32-year-old woman was in serious condition and a 27-year-old woman was in fair condition, a spokesman for San Francisco General Hospital said.

Why was Nasim Aghdam angry at YouTube?

YouTube had “stopped everything” and “she was angry” at the video-sharing platform, according to Aghdam’s father.

A website in her name decried YouTube’s policies.

“There is no free speech in real world and you will be suppressed for telling the truth that is not supported by the system,” it said. “Videos of targeted users are filtered and merely relegated, so that people can hardly see their videos!

YouTube HQ shooting suspect Nasim Aghdam appears in video testing her physical strength as a vegan

“There is no equal growth opportunity on YOUTUBE or any other video sharing site, your channel will grow if they want to!”

Citing one removed video, Aghdam wrote: “This video got age restricted after new close-minded youtube employees, got control of my farsi youtube channel last year 2016 & began filtering my videos to reduce views & suppress & discourage me from making videos!”

She also complained about the company’s changes to monetisation policies.

Does YouTube suppress some content creators?

Last year, Google changed its age restriction rules, meaning videos classed as being inappropriate for children were demonetised. This move angered many content creators who could no longer attach adverts to their videos.

When deciding what videos to restrict, YouTube considers its use of vulgar language, violence, nudity and sexual content, and portrayals of harmful or dangerous activities.

How does YouTube cut monetisation to people?

Earlier this year, YouTube announced it was making “tough but necessary” changes to its monetisation policies, sparking a major backlash from smaller YouTubers.

Channels now need 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of view time over the previous 12 months to qualify for the company’s Partner Programme, which allows publishers to make money through advertising.

Previously, users needed just 10,000 total views to join the programme.

Why did YouTube change its monetisation and age restriction rules?

YouTube has suffered a series of damaging controversies in the last year, from terrorism videos plaguing the site to disturbing cartoons featuring famous characters being targeted at children.

The platform’s public relations nadir occurred in January, when Logan Paul, one of YouTube’s most famous users, shared footage of a man who had recently taken his own life.

In an attempt keep advertisers happy and ensure their content does not feature alongside controversial material, YouTube drastically cut the numbers of publishers who will be able to monetise their content.

It also introduced human moderators, who will watch videos from major creators before allowing advertising to be featured alongside it.

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