had a strong online presence with multiple YouTube channels,
websites, and social media accounts dedicated to her various
interests: bodybuilding, vegan activism, crafts, and free
speech. As of Tuesday night, all of her social media accounts
on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube were suspended.
is, clearly, no justification for Aghdam's actions. But she
referenced an ongoing debate about major changes to YouTube's
policies over the last two years. And the shooting directly
illustrates how tough it is for YouTube to implement
substantial changes to a site where anyone — including
criminals and conspiracy theorists — can post content and gain
a significant following.
has tightened up its rules and made it tougher for creators to
make money over the last 2 years
a series of rule changes, YouTube has made it more difficult
for some creators to make money from their videos over the
YouTube is trying to crack down on spammy, low-quality videos.
of this means that YouTube has become more proactive when it
comes to downgrading promoted videos that might be offensive,
adding age-restriction filters, and removing ads from
offensive or poor-quality videos.
changes inflamed creators such as Aghdam who already harboured
suspicions that YouTube was censoring them in some way.
typing "YouTube censorship" into YouTube's search box, and you
will come across an entire conspiracy theory subgenre.
Ironically, creators ratchet up tens of thousands of views
with videos complaining they are being censored in some way.
Usually, it is right-wing commentators,who
are actually pretty prominent on the site.
video that shows up prominently on that search is by vegan
activist channel Bite Size Vegan. It is titled "I'm
Being Censored — YouTube's War Against Vegans" and shows
activist Emily Moran Barwick claiming that YouTube added age
restrictions to one of her videos because it contained graphic
who claimed to be vegan, links to this video from her web page
alongside complaints that her content had also been "filtered"
to stop them getting views. Since Aghdam's channels are now
deleted, Business Insider was unable to verify whether her
content had indeed been restricted.According
to BuzzFeed, she had claimed videos showing her
exercising had been age-restricted by "close-minded" YouTube
incident is a sobering reminder that popular platforms like
YouTube generate strong feeling among their users, and that
outrage over high-level decisions can be intense. The platform
has millions of users, and a small number are extremists or
mentally ill, and that outrage reaches them, too. To date,
YouTube and other tech firms have tried to avoid policing
content posted to their platform — and Tuesday's events make
it easy to see why.