By: +David Herron; Date: April 4, 2018
For months a growing anger among YouTube "content creators" has bubbled due to de-monetization of videos. There are many people building large audiences, whose videos are seen by lots of people, and who are able to make a living making videos for YouTube. In some cases YouTube's policy changes have decreased income for those people thanks to demonetization, or when YouTube turns off monetization for certain videos. On Tuesday April 3, 2018, a YouTuber started shooting YouTube employees at the YouTube HQ, and then killed herself, and it's clearly because of her rage at YouTube's policies.
This issue has been building for months. At first it was folks saying that monetization was being turned off for their videos, reducing their income. Producing multiple videos per week takes a lot of time and resources, and obviously folks are going to look for a way to be paid for that time. YouTube offers a cut of advertising that runs against the videos, and of course a large viewership can turn into a lot of revenue.
Back in July 2017 I noticed a trend where Google would show paid movies in search results, which would squeeze out videos posted by regular users: As Google commercializes YouTube, individual "creators" may be squeezed out
And in August 2017, a description of the Adpocalypse problem: A look into the YouTube Adpocalypse - Video Blogger shows how his revenue has dried up
Then in January 2018, Google changed the YouTube monetization policies to set a threshold below which a channel would not be allowed monetization: Google possibly dooms YouTube by explicitly cancelling monetization for channels with low viewership
That's the background - lets get back to yesterdays shooter.
Police said Nasim Najafi Aghdam, 39, of San Diego is the shooter. She was a legally registered gun owner and used a 9mm handgun in her attack on the YouTube campus. She shot several people, and then killed herself.
Seemingly there's no link between Aghdam and anyone at YouTube -- this isn't the case of a jilted lover, in other words. In fact, there's a "crazy girlfriend" meme going around that is basically false. Of all the times a woman was involved in mass shoting, exactly zero times had to do with a jilted lover or crazy girlfriend situation.
Instead, Aghdam reportedly complained to family, on her blog, in her videos, that YouTube monetization policy was bonkers. And it seems she chose to take matters into her own hands.
According to reports in the Washington Post and the SJ Mercury News, Aghdam's father told reporters about her complaints about YouTube's monetization policies. The family reported her as missing on Saturday, and was worried she might go to YouTube.
Aghdam's channels were focused on Veganism, Fitness and Animal Cruelty.
She wrote messages on her blog like: “There is no free speech in real world & you will be suppressed for telling the truth that is not supported by the system,” and: “There is no equal growth opportunity on YOUTUBE or any other video sharing site, your channel will grow if they want to!!!!!!”
The general thrust that YouTube was cheating video creators out of money. That perhaps YouTube was censoring her because of her views, which was wholly unfair -- in her view.
Which reminds me of what I wrote back in January. All the services allowing individuals to monetize content posted to the service have tightended their policies, lowered payouts, and so forth.
Any time you're posting content on someone elses site - you're living under their policies, and those policies can be changed at any time. It's best to understand that fact, and to use the situation to your advantage.
Don't be dependent on the goodwill of that site for your livelihood. Maintain multiple streams of income, and keep shifting around as policies change.
But - clearly this particular person had a different viewpoint.