YouTube has recently implemented strict policies for users who create content they wish to have monetized. The company received heavy criticism over inappropriate videos that were made available to children. YouTube has since pledged to hire more moderators, overhauled monetization requirements, and started flagging accounts whose videos aren’t consistent with family-oriented content. Any content deemed inappropriate can only be viewed by users who log into accounts to verify their age. Advertisements aren’t placed on adult-only videos.
The new initiatives taken by YouTube affected many content creators, who saw their earnings drop substantially when their videos were autotagged for demonetization. Nasim Aghdam’s channels were affected by YouTube’s flagging system. Aghdam operated several channels and at least two different Instagram accounts. She also operated a website, filled with rants about YouTube over what she described as “discrimination and filtering.” According to family members, Nasim Aghdam became angry when she stopped receiving money through advertisements on her YouTube channels.
Aghdam’s family alerted the authorities of possible violence at the YouTube headquarters when she disappeared. Police located her and assured her family they would keep an eye on her. Nasim Aghdam then entered YouTube’s headquarters and opened fire, injuring four before turning the gun on herself. The 39-year-old is said to have no ties to anyone employed at YouTube, contrary to initial reports and social media speculation. According to reports, security on YouTube premises is lacking. While employees are required to scan in, it’s easy for anyone to simply walk right in behind them.
Aghdam branded herself as a vegan bodybuilder and animal rights activist. She operated channels in English, Turkish, and Farsi. YouTube has since deleted the channels.
As I look into it, I’m not seeing a connection between #NasimAghdam and radical Islam.
She seems to be your standard unhinged entitled liberal who went homicidally nuts when she didn’t get her way. #YouTube
— John Cardillo (@johncardillo) April 4, 2018
Nasim Aghdam’s personal website contains rants about YouTube’s discrimination. She speculated that she was becoming too popular so the video hosting site shut her down. Honestly, the clips I was able to find are complete garbage and poorly edited. She’s not saying anything of substance and it’s unclear how she had up to 10,000 subscribers on one of her channels. She also amassed tens of thousands of followers on Instagram, which she boasted about on her website. One of the now-deleted YouTube videos she embedded to her website was labeled as “graphic content” presumably depicting animal abuse. This type of content would surely be flagged as inappropriate.
Nasim Aghdam’s heavy online presence was her only income. Many YouTube personalities are able to generate a livable income through advertisements on their videos, but paychecks aren’t guaranteed. In the past few years, YouTube has become oversaturated with content creators hoping to earn money. Many don’t realize how much work goes into creating content for a living, especially YouTube videos.
On her website, Aghdam was frustrated over a screenshot apparently showing that she’d only made $.10 on a video that had over 300,000 views. She also blamed YouTube for her content views dropping. She made a crude comparison between the United States and Iran, questioning which country promotes actual freedom of speech. Aghdam was a highly disturbed woman who interpreted YouTube’s fickle earning system as a personal attack.