Some of the Complaints Might Be Valid, But the Timing Isn’t

In the wake of the domestic terrorist attack on YouTube’s headquarters on Tuesday, the public has been trying to make sense of what seems like constant horrors of gun violence in the U.S. This New York Times article discusses the motivations of the attacker and the narrative about YouTube’s treatment of advertisements and demonetization.

YouTubers can use the platform for basically any kind of creative content they want to make, and as the article pointed out, especially in its early days, censorship of content was pretty limited. Now, because of criticism of it’s lenience, the site’s been forced to remove videos considered controversial, too graphic, or offensive. The Times used the example of Logan Paul, a multi-million-follower obtaining YouTube star, who posted a video with close ups of a deceased suicide victim hanging from a tree in Japan.

Many YouTubers, Nasim Najafi Aghdam included, expressed grievances for YouTube using demonetization as a punishment to those whose content didn’t align with with their values. YouTube has been known to take down ads for anti-semitic videos, racist and discriminatory ones, and overly sexual videos more so in the past year. Yet, the argument lies in that they cherry pick the content they want to support (i.e. sexual pop songs never get demonetized but a workout video featuring a woman might).

These grievances are something to consider, as are the rights of YouTubers, if one wants to argue the rights they could have as content creators. However, doing so through the medium of a violent shooter seems inappropriate and disrespectful to tragic events caused by gun violence. Right now, YouTube should take the time to heal after its attack, and consider policy later.