YouTube will increase security at all offices worldwide following shooting

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

In the aftermath of the shooting at YouTube's headquarters in San Bruno, California yesterday, the company has announced plans to increase security at all of its offices worldwide. This is intended to “make them more secure not only in the near term, but long-term,” YouTube says. The move reflects a growing concern in Silicon Valley that the effects of increasingly toxic and partisan online behavior may translate into violent offline actions.

YouTube's statement was released through Google's Twitter account for communications; it's not clear whether Google itself will be implementing stronger security measures beyond YouTube. The Verge has contacted Google for comment.

The shooter, 39-year-old Nasim Aghdam of San Diego, died yesterday of a self-inflicted gunshot wound after shooting and injuring three employees. From police reports, testimony from Aghdam’s family members, and extensive traces of the woman’s online behavior on YouTube and other platforms, we now know that Aghdam was disgruntled over the demonetizing of her videos and harm to her financial well-being.

She called the practice “censorship,” saying in one video, “There is no free speech in [the] real world [and] you will be suppressed for telling the truth that is not supported by the system.” Aghdam was a vegan and animal rights activist, and none of her videos involved direct calls to violence.

However, in the wake of the shooting, hardline alt-right members and conspiracy theorists, both of which share a hate for YouTube for its presumed liberal bias, have begun spreading misinformation about the shooter and are even attempting to hail Aghdam as a free speech martyr. The hashtag #CensorshipKills has sprung up as a gathering ground for those who want to use Aghdam’s attack as a political tool in the fight against platform moderation and political correctness.

The YouTube statement naturally does not address any of these matters, instead focusing on the victims, the YouTube community, and what the company plans to do in the coming days to offer support and improve employee protections.

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She called the practice "censorship," saying in one video, "There is no free speech in [the] real world [and] you will be suppressed for telling the truth that is not supported by the system."

Free speech protects you from government censorship. A company has every right to say what they have on their service.

Ignorant people can’t grasp this concept. She was a dumb, lost & troubled woman. And these alt-right commentators on YouTube are are equally as dumb, lost & troubled. I hope YouTube clamps down on their nonsense and spreading of misinformation, propaganda and feeding the fears of their often equally dumb, lost & troubled audiences.

imagine how much money Google makes off of dumb, lost and troubled audiences.

now imagine them not wanting to make money.

YouTube would still thrive.

i think the percentage of the population that you think is dumb, lost and troubled is much smaller than what i do.

i see it as close to 70% of gen pop and probably 90% of the core consumers of youtube.

The percentage of people that consume this content is much smaller however than the percentage of those who don’t. While the average person isn’t that intelligent the majority aren’t actively seeking this kind of content. Algorithms are surfacing this content to them. If YouTube put a lid on allowing this shit, the platform & its algorithms can serve the progression of minds better as opposed to reinforcing people’s fears, prejudices & ignorance with algorithms.

Yes, ’cause all you see on youtube trending page are those people spreading misinformation, propaganda and other bullshit. All the biggest youtubers with millions of subscribers are those who spread bullshit. Google will definitely go bankrupt without them.

logan paul spreads bullshit, kim k-dash spreads bullshit, pewdiepie spreads bullshit.

youtube has been turning a blind eye to bullshit, violence, abuse, fear and every kind of ism forever, because it is all that crap that keeps people glued to it.

It’s really troubling that you can’t see the difference between the content from logan paul, kim k-dash, pewdiepie etc and those who focus on `violence, abuse, fear and every kind of ism forever`.

nah – if you read what i wrote, i said that they spread bullshit, and then i said youtube turns a blind eye to bullshit and those other things.

youtube puts them in the same bucket, the bucket of mass audience attracting, mass comment conflicting, lowest brow puke – that makes them the most coin.

That is true, and there’s nobody responsible for Aghdam’s actions but her, however YouTube has been positioning itself as a viable way for content creators to make a living on its site. When you do that, you have to realize that the actions you take as a company can literally be taking food off the table of the people whose content your company relies on for its success. This is a question of empathy with those who are literally responsible for all the profits your company makes.

There’s no excuse for what Aghdam did, and she was terribly misguided if she thought she was being "censored". However, pretty much anyone who monetizes on YouTube will tell you that they’ve been affected in some way financially by the company’s arbitrary decisions about what videos and channels can be monetized, what ad rates are set and how much of a cut YouTube takes, and what content YouTube chooses to feature in search results and on its landing pages. Essentially it’s like working at a job where you have no idea or really any obvious way to affect how much you’re going to get paid every week. It’s all down to how much YouTube wants you to make – and how much they want to keep – from your videos at any given time.

I’m definitely not saying they shouldn’t be moderating content. It can’t just be a free-for-all where anything goes – we all know that doesn’t work on the internet. But YouTube has set itself up for conflict with the way it’s implemented a lot of its recent changes. Some of Aghdam’s beefs were legitimate – for example, she apparently had a channel demonetized because it didn’t meet YouTube’s new arbitrary threshold for monetization. That’s essentially money that YouTube had promised in how they told people they could make money on the site, and then took away. (It’s important to note that YouTube still shows ads on those videos, they just keep all the money for themselves.)

Again, I hope nobody takes this as some sort of justification for what she did. I’ve been mad at YouTube about some of these changes too, but I’m not about to go on a shooting spree about it. (I’m also pretty anti-gun to begin with.) I’m just saying there’s legitimate anger out there that was caused by YouTube. It’s got nothing to do with being "alt-right"; it’s not a political position. It has to do with being a content creator that was given certain terms by YouTube only to have those terms changed in mid-stream without any real thought or care given to how it would affect those creators financially. YouTube is no different than Uber or any other company that mistreats those responsible for its profits. They are not immune from anger. They should be immune from getting shot up, as any workplace should be, but there are real reasons for people to be angry.

Well put.

That is true, and there’s nobody responsible for Aghdam’s actions but her, however

If they meant the first part, they didn’t need a "however" or anything that follows it.

If they were worried about people taking what they said as a justification, they shouldn’t have offered the justifications.

If a person walks naked through the south side of Chicago holding a pile of $100 bills, it’s not their fault if they get robbed; but it’s compeletly understandable why they got robbed.

Sorta like that, only if the victim was robbed in their own home, and someone else was egging the would-be robber on by saying how really the not-naked person who lived a block from the nearest police station’s money SHOULD belong to them, so the "robber" traveled more than twice the width of Illinois to break into their literal backyard and shoot them.

Alright, so it wasn’t really like that after all, and badasscat1 was repeating a story that I’m sure they heard elsewhere and believe, but it’s wrong, and it’s now had very tragic consequences.

Simply put, the people responsible for Youtube’s profits are the ones who write the software and manage the servers that send video over the internet to an incredible number of people, and the people who find advertisers and promote it. The work they do is neither cheap, nor free, nor easy, certainly not nonexistent nor a negative.

So the argument is against monopolies, or even duopolies? If youtube or any other platform had competition that could offer a viable alternative, then maybe the anger could be channelled a little better.

I’m tired of people bringing up what potentially motivated her to attack strangers. She was a mentally deranged and dangerous individual. I hope her victims have a speedy physical and psychological recovery.

corporate miltary divisions, another step closer.

In a country where where weapons of war outnumber its citizens, it seems irresponsible for companies to not protect their workers.

But then, the bottom-line is all that matters in America.

weapons of war

AR-15, AKMs etc are not weapons of war, and never see war time. They are glorified hunting rifles made to look scary by painting it black and mimicking the design of the M16, AK47, etc. Not to mention 29 out of the 30 worst mass shootings involved pistols etc. Pistols are far more deadly given how easy they are to conceal and throw away when your done.

Rifles and pistols have been used in every war since they were invented. What are you talking about?

Do we really need to politicize every last thing? This was about someone being disgruntled that their income stream was cut off-she was unemployed and basically was counting on her Youtube videos that had gone viral in Iran for an income stream, and when Youtube demonetized them and she had no way of contesting the demonetization she basically flipped out. From everything we know she was otherwise unemployed, so this is the same as all the other examples where fired employees come back and try and shoot up their workplace, except in this case it’s a YouTube video creator who got cut off of their income stream instead of an actual employee.

Has literally zero to do with the political discussions on the internet, or toxic internet environment.

The article is pretty clear that it is the ‘alt-right’ idiots that are co-opting this event for their own jihad. They are the ones politicizing it.

YouTube used its monetization to grow and now that it’s become the dominant service it no longer has an interest in paying its talent.
This is a thing you heard often on many of the gun channels. They were getting paid to produce, but after a while their videos would get removed or demonetized with no notice. They’d try to circumvent the system by using Pateron and finding advertisers directly, but google now doesn’t want to advertise gun related products. They try going to other services but YouTube’s grown so large that it’s made a desert of the surrounding landscape since google won’t reference your other videos. They’ll still advertise, skim customer data, and make money off of what they decide to keep but the situation isn’t tenable for those who are trying to cover the cost of production.

This is basically a corporate town, one of the only places you can find enough clicks to survive. Unfortunately because the cops in this town are privately owned there is no bill of rights there. There is no freedom of speech or privacy. The internet is not the government so the owners of its services are free to act however they feel.

Now take a crazy left wing vegan who probably heard similar stories and the fact her videos weren’t getting her paid becomes a conspiracy by YouTube. While her actions are tragic and inexcusable, at some point YouTube must have expected that it’s bad policies for dealing with its talent would cause someone to come to an office and complain in person.

This is a thing you heard often on

Maybe the thing to do is to stop seeing saying it as acceptable and giving such sentiment a free platform.

"At some point", the people saying these things "must have expected" someone to listen.

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