Woman who shot 3 YouTube employees before killing herself had a personal vendetta against YouTube for censoring her videos
On Tuesday afternoon, a woman opened fire at YouTube’s headquarters in San Bruno, California, hitting three employees, before turning the gun on herself.
She has now been identified as Nasim Aghdam, 39, a frequent user of YouTube. She was furious with the video sharing site because of their new policies which has stricter rules and censors certain videos.
Aghdam was a prolific YouTuber who had ranted online against the company’s new policies and accused them of censoring her videos. So, on Tuesday, she walked into YouTube campus wearing glasses and a scarf and opened fire on employees, hitting a man and two women.
Aghdam, who described herself as an animal rights activist and vegan bodybuilder, had a significant online presence with multiple YouTube channels and social media pages. Her YouTube channel, where she posted bizarre videos, had more than 5,000 subscribers and got many views but when YouTube introduced its new policies, the views on her video reduced.
In January 2017, she posted a video in which she vented about being censored by the company. She said the company “filtered” her videos and this has caused her to lose views and money.
After the shooting, Aghdam’s YouTube channels and social media pages were all removed.
When police arrived YouTube’s headquarters, they discovered one victim with a gunshot wound and then found the shooter with what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound several minutes later, the police chief said at a press conference. He said two additional gunshot victims were later located at an adjacent business and that a fourth injured person suffered an ankle injury.
San Bruno Police Chief Ed Barberini said three people were taken to hospitals in San Francisco with gunshot wounds. A 36-year-old man was in critical condition, a 32-year-old woman was in serious condition and a 27-year-old woman was in fair condition following the shooting.
Law enforcement officials had initially said the shooting was being investigated as a domestic dispute after early indications suggested she had shot her boyfriend. But further investigation led to the discovery that she had a personal vendetta against YouTube.
The shooter’s father Ismail Aghdam said she had told family members that YouTube had stopped paying her for content she posted on the site. YouTube video creators can earn money from advertisements, but for various reasons the firm sometimes ‘de-monetizes’ channels meaning clips don’t run with adverts.
He told the Bay Area News Group that he had warned police his daughter hated YouTube and she might be headed to their headquarters. He had reported her missing from Southern California on Monday morning after she went two days without answering her phone. Ismail said police contacted him at about 2am on Tuesday to say they had found her sleeping in her car roughly 470 miles from her home town. Ismail said police told him that everything was “in control” but he told them she had spoken of her hatred of YouTube in recent weeks.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai called the shooting a “horrific act of violence”. And President Donald Trump offered his “thoughts and prayers” after being briefed on the shooting.