Wow…too early in the morning to really dive into a post like this, but I find this all so shocking—and indicative of the times we’re living in.
So that shooter at the YouTube HQ yesterday was a 39-year-old Iranian female animal rights protester & YouTube video publisher. Nasim Aghdam—whose channel has been completely removed by YouTube by this point, obviously—shot and wounded several YouTube employees before turning her gun on herself. Nasim apparently had an age restriction put on one of her videos, and was just upset that she was losing viewers/ad revenue in general.
This situation highlights the fact that a lot of people have come to depend on platforms like YouTube as a source of revenue—either through the ads themselves, through appeals for donations to places like Patreon, or even through services offered through the videos (for example, astrologers & tarot readers). But at the same time…more and more restrictions are being placed on this content, both in terms of what is allowed to make this ad revenue, and is deemed “acceptable” for the platform at all.
For example, last month YouTube revised the terms of their ad revenue structure, making it much harder to be a channel that qualifies for monetization. The platform has also put in a more stringent review process for content, sparked in part by the whole Logan Paul “suicide forest” debacle and Elsagate.
This is all not to say that Nasim was justified in any way for what she did. But it is only to point out that a) a whole economy had developed over the past decade based on this YouTube/blog ads revenue model and b) at the same time, that “wild west” aspect of the “old internet” is swiftly going away.
And if you have been living the past decade or more having built this entire life and even livelihood online…and then these restrictions “encroach” more and more on that…I think it really sets some people (especially the already unstable) off. The reality is: these restrictions across all platforms and “community” websites are only going to get greater and greater.
The “wild west” is over. The online culture is shifting.
You see this type of struggle—albeit, without the need to shoot anyone (I hope)—with the very recent Channel Awesome debacle. Channel Awesome itself faced issues with YouTube with what they felt was demonetization/”censorship” of certain videos. To complicate things further, Channel Awesome videos depended a lot on clips from movies & TV—copyrighted material.
CA also apparently had put the screws to some of their own producers/contributors, allegedly trying to restrict their use of Patreon links, and unevenly promoting/featuring their videos. Everybody was struggling, trying to make $ in a financial landscape that in some ways is either drying up or at the very least significantly changing.
In the case of Nasim, it wasn’t 100% even about the money—it seems like her whole sense of personal identity was tied in to her videos. And her videos are…really bizarre. She has this same glassy-eyed robotic look I’ve seen now with several video producers…and that’s a whole separate post. Some weird, weird shit.
Anyway, point is, to summarize: this seems to be an unfortunate sign of the times.