On Tuesday, April 3rd, yet another major shooting took place in America. This time, the shooting occurred at the YouTube headquarters facility in Northern California. The shooting was conducted by a woman named Nasim Aghdam, who had been an avid YouTuber since 2010.
She posted over 500 videos that largely promoted her vegan ideals and fitness workouts. Aghdam had about 30,000 subscribers, which is nowhere near the level of being a “YouTube Star.” However, she was generating a small income from advertisements on her videos. Everything changed when YouTube recently altered their algorithms on what type of content is advertised.
Her videos were cut out of being advertised after the change as a result of some of the content that was being shown in her videos. Particularly, in some of her videos she showed animals in factories being tortured and slaughtered. This type of content directly conflicts with YouTube’s guidelines for its goriness. Thus, her content stopped being advertised.
Aghdam saw this action as a conspiracy in which YouTube was suppressing her vegan ideals from potential viewers. Aghdam’s father had known for a while that Aghdam had a major problem with Youtube however he would never have imagined it would bring her to murder three people in cold blood and injure even more.
Some are saying that YouTube is responsible for suppressing Aghdam’s ideals, and that YouTube’s demonetization is completely at fault, rather than Aghdam herself. This is demonstrably false and is a conclusion that comes out of a certain level of ignorance about what YouTube is.
YouTube is not a government-owned organization – they are a corporation. Thus, it can suppress whatever they want. If something on the website doesn’t reflect what the company decides it wants to allow to be on the media sharing site, it can simply remove that content. The content that Aghdam was posting on YouTube, whether you agree with her stance on veganism or not, does not meet the new standards for what can be advertised. Therefore, YouTube was completely entitled to taking away her advertisement income.
The problem is much deeper than a YouTube policy issue. This act was a problem in the psyche of the perpetrator. If Aghdam was making a seven-figure income from YouTube that was suddenly removed, then we might be able to understand her motive more clearly. However, we are talking about someone who didn’t even make a mentionable income from the site. This leads me to wonder about the status of our society right now.
All of this gun violence that has been committed in the past few years has come from people who felt suppressed or betrayed in some way or another, and the parents and close relatives of these perpetrators had no idea that they were planning such actions. On the whole, a majority of people would obviously never dare to murder people. However, there’s a small percentage that feels utterly betrayed, suppressed, and not listened to.
The Parkland shooting, Sandy Hook massacre, the Elliot Rodger killings, all of these perpetrators felt deeply wronged and wounded by society. They felt on the other side of the door to the rest of the world, and the only way they could open that door was by blowing a hole in it.
The bottom line to all of these shootings is that they’ve all come with a deep psychological problem that no-one addressed. I don’t have all of the answers to the gun control debate, they certainly shouldn’t be taken away in their entirety, however it’s not fair for a student to have to worry about being shot when he goes to school, or someone who works at YouTube to fear being shot when he or she goes to work. As long as this issue goes unaddressed, the people who are forgotten by society will have power over everyone in our society. Something certainly must be done.