YouTubers share shock and sadness after shooting

After a disgruntled YouTube creator opened fire at its California headquarters, some are speaking out about gun control, open campuses and the platform’s monetization policy.

The YouTube community is speaking out after an attack at the company’s Silicon Valley campus.

The attack—in which a woman opened fire on the San Bruno, California, headquarters—has left many questioning the safety of open campuses and has prompted others to call once again for gun control.

The incident has also sent some looking for a motive, including YouTube’s controversial monetization policy, under which some creators receive money for their regular video offerings.

NPR reported:

A woman with an apparent grudge against YouTube for what she claimed was censoring and “de-monetizing” her videos, opened fire at the video-sharing service’s San Bruno, Calif., headquarters, wounding several people before fatally shooting herself, according to police.

Police Chief Ed Barberini said the attack was carried out with a handgun and that it was being investigated as a domestic dispute.

Later, law enforcement officials identified the suspect as Nasim Najafi Aghdam, 39; however The San Jose Mercury News listed her age as 38.

The NBC affiliate in the Bay Area reports that Aghdam “had a robust presence on YouTube” and had posted in both English and Farsi, a language widely spoken in Iran.

Twitter was an important place for both YouTube employees and its parent company Google to share their grief and shock over the incident.

Both YouTube’s top executive, Susan Wojcicki, and the CEO at Google, Sundar Pichai, tweeted that they had “no words.”

Pichai penned a note to Google employees promising that the situation was contained and offering help to those who might be suffering. The note was then shared publicly, showing the giant company’s human response to the tragic events.

Twitter was also an important communications channel for updates during the incident.

Other Silicon Valley leaders responded to the event by calling for more gun regulations.

Reuters reported:

“We can’t keep being reactive to this, thinking and praying it won’t happen again at our schools, jobs, or our community spots,” tweeted Twitter Inc and Square Inc CEO Jack Dorsey. “It’s beyond time to evolve our policies.”

Joining Dorsey were Uber Technologies Inc [UBER.UL] CEO Dara Khosrowshahi and Box Inc CEO Aaron Levie, who respectively sent tweets on Tuesday saying #EndGunViolence and #NeverAgain, two Twitter hashtags commonly used by proponents of gun control.

“On behalf of the team at @Uber, sending support to everyone @YouTube and @Google, and gratitude to the heroic first responders,” Khosrowshahi tweeted. “Another tragedy that should push us again to #EndGunViolence”

YouTubers also weighed in, calling for change and sharing their sympathy for the victims and their families.

Some are questioning Silicon Valley’s current model for campus security.

Bloomberg reported:

YouTube’s campus in San Bruno, California, where three people were injured by gunfire, is laid out much like other tech offices nearby. It consists of a group of buildings within close proximity, spread across a suburban area. There’s outdoor seating and grassy pastures inviting colleagues to congregate. Locals and employees can wander freely together in the vicinity, and security guards typically stay at desks inside the buildings.

“Companies invest in security but purposefully keep physical security measures discreet because the vibe is casual and relaxed,” said Joe Sullivan, the former chief security officer at Uber Technologies Inc. and Facebook Inc. who’s now an independent consultant. “Leaders want to stay connected with their teams, generally choosing less visible security than you would see in traditional finance or media companies.”

The shooter was an outspoken critic of YouTube’s monetization policy, highlighting the struggle the platform still faces in exerting control over its content.

Business Insider wrote:

There 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.

The changes to the monetization policy have punished many proprietors of small YouTube channels.

As PR Daily previously reported:

The company announced, via blog post, that it would change the rules for how channels were monetized on their site, going from a threshold of 10,000 lifetime views to a minimum of 4,000 hours watched in the prior 12 months and 1,000 subscribers.

It wrote:

[…] we’re making changes to address the issues that affected our community in 2017 so we can prevent bad actors from harming the inspiring and original creators around the world who make their living on YouTube. A big part of that effort will be strengthening our requirements for monetization so spammers, impersonators, and other bad actors can’t hurt our ecosystem or take advantage of you, while continuing to reward those who make our platform great.

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