The police tape is displayed outside a YouTube office building in San Bruno, California, on Wednesday, April 4, 2018. A woman suspected of shooting three people at YouTube headquarters before committing suicide was furious with the company because she had stopped paying for the videos she posted on the platform, her father said on Tuesday, April 3, 2018. (AP Photo / Jeff Chiu)
In a video with more than 3 million hits, one of YouTube's most well-known creators criticized the platform. Casey Neistat's 2016 video "WTF YouTube? Removing monetization?" Came when YouTube faced an uprising of creators dissatisfied with the way the company applied and communicated its "content fit for advertisers" guidelines, which determine what videos could and could not generate money for the people who created them.
Neistat talked about that, and what was wrong with how YouTube handled the concerns of people who depend on the platform for their livelihood. But the most important thing is that it articulated what made the platform and its people so special. "What YouTube has in this space that nobody else has," said Neistat. "It's this sense of community, this kinship with creators like me, and the platform that is YouTube."
Nasim Aghdam, the woman who police said went to YouTube headquarters to shoot her employees on Tuesday before committing suicide, had embedded Neistat's video about what is believed to be her personal website. Police said on Wednesday they "believed the suspect was upset with YouTube's policies and practices," and that anger "seems to be the reason for this incident."
Aghdam seems to use Neistat's criticism of YouTube to support his own anger. But her presence on social networks reveals that what she believed was not what Neistat said. Instead, she promoted a dark investment, fueled by conspiracy. For Neistat and many YouTubers users, YouTube needed to arrange its communication with the creators to help the community. In Aghdam's investment, he hurt YouTube, and his community, because he believed that he was personally being persecuted.
YouTube and many of its creators have responded viscerally, with shock and pain:
"It seems I was angry" on YouTube She claimed that her videos were being unfairly restricted by age and accused YouTube of deleting their videos. I am disgusted, angry and disconsolate, "Philip DeFranco tweeted, a prominent YouTuber who, like Neistat, is one of YouTube's most prominent faces and critics.
" There's not much more to say apart from this: I've found dozens of working people on YouTube. They are amazing and kind people who do the best given the situation. They also do a great job most days, "tweeted Boogie2988, another YouTuber who often talks about the company on his channel.In response to the shooting, Boogie also removed his most recent video on YouTube," out of respect for those harmed today. and in solidarity with the people who run the site. "
" We are an incredibly close community within YouTube, where it feels like a family, "said YouTube Communications Chief Chris Dale." Today, it seems that all the YouTube community and all employees were victims of this crime. "
On a website believed to be his, Aghdam criticized YouTube in a series of screenshots and dislikes" There's no equal growth opportunities on YOUTUBE or any other video sharing site, your channel will grow if you wish! ", he wrote." Youtube leaked my channels to prevent them from getting visitors. "Another part of their website contains a quote from Adolf Hitler
Aghdam ran at least four YouTube channels in English, Turkish and Farsi playing scattered themes, including veganism, exercise, hand art and animal rights. He also directed several other social media accounts, including on Instagram and Facebook. A recent video that appeared to be his, now removed from Facebook, claimed that she had been the victim of a conspiracy to censor the vegans. "This is what they are doing for vegan activists and many other people who are trying to promote a healthy, humane and intelligent life: people like me are not good for big companies, like for animal businesses, medicine businesses and for many other This is why they are discriminating and censuring us. "
In another section of his website, Aghdam posted screenshots of his YouTube views and earnings and blamed the "closed-minded YouTube employees" for what he said was a decrease in the popularity of his channel .
Aghdam's decision to commit a violent act against YouTube is unique, police say. Anger on the platform, and those who work for him, is not.
Alex Jones, whose main channel has more than 2 million subscribers, is constantly at war with the entire platform, accusing YouTube of unjustly censoring him, having an agenda against conservatives or being about to ban his channel by full.
In March, YouTube said it would ban videos that promote the sale of weapons and accessories and ban videos that teach viewers to put guns together. The move led the gun enthusiasts to accuse the site of censorship: in a video watched more than 300,000 times, Tim Harmsen, the head of a YouTube channel on military firearms, said that the "extreme left locos" of YouTube had unfairly threatened its channel with a total ban and added: "At this moment we are under attack."
For some, Aghdam's anger over YouTube's policies became justification for blaming the company for what happened to them. "YouTube employees are suddenly at the forefront of a shooting war that began through censorship and speech oppression," said one headline, published on NaturalNews.com. The article was published again in Jones' Infowars.
Neistat sat down again in front of his camera on Wednesday. I wanted to talk about what happened on YouTube.
"I know when I say YouTube, most of you think of YouTube, the website," he said. "YouTube is a website, but when I say YouTube, I think of the people, the people I know on YouTube, the people who operate YouTube, the people who make YouTube happen."
YouTube is still in the middle of a battle with its creators, on transparency and compliance with its own rules. Filming will not change that, but right now, the creators of YouTube who really want the platform to be better are responding in the only way they can: with empathy.
When Neistat looks at YouTube, he said: "I see a collection of human beings, incredible human beings."
Drew Harwell contributed the reports.