Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
[dupe] Suspect in YouTube Shooting Angry That Her Videos Had Been 'De-Monetized' (npr.org)
201 points by uptown on Apr 4, 2018 | hide | past | web | favorite | 418 comments




The media’s part in this:

For whatever reason they started scouring youtube for “controversial” videos checking if they had ads (no matter how little views they had) then they would contact the advertisers for comment.

Advertisers would initiate damage control and pull their ads from youtube.

Youtube would explain that the numbers and views in question are insignificant and that this type of complex system can never be 100% error free but they reluctantly imposed restrictions.

After successfully manufacturing a story and gaining attention and traffic reporters continued scouring and contacting advertisers forcing youtube to enact tougher restrictions.

They then would extended the coverage to the anger in the youtube community and how it’s tough for them out there with all the latest policy changes.

Rinse, repeat; keep reporting on any video you find disagreeable no matter how little views it has.

. . .

Be sure to remind youtube of their power and responsibility after tragedy strikes.


One possible way out of the trap is for regulation to acknowledge and classify these massive social media and content delivery platforms like YouTube and Facebook as the new version of the public square.

One of the big issues with the demonetization on YouTube is that it's a binary flag -- either "acceptable content for advertisers" or "unacceptable for advertisers." As if advertisers were a single block with a single set of values!

When YouTube is not under an obligation to act as the virtual-public-square (because "they're a private company"), then they are especially vulnerable to defining that "acceptability" either by internal ideological conformity, or by external ideological pressure. Part of the concept of "free speech" (as a doctrine, not just as 1A legal structure) is that it allows for a society where the distinction of "I don't agree with this but someone out there might and so it's OK for it to exist" is a distinction that is possible. Without that, we're left with a world in which expression has to be mediated by the approval/whims of external forces for it to be present.

Whatever strange, fringe things this person was having as YouTube videos, I'd be willing to guess there's some fringe company out there who wouldn't care if they were advertised on those videos. Think of the kinds of advertisers 4chan, Infowars, or adult websites get. Their standards don't fit into a generic mold of "acceptability." But if someone was a video creator who wanted to court such advertisers, what kind of audience would they even be able to build without access to the de-facto public-square that YouTube is?

I don't know how to get there from here. But I think a more healthy ad-revenue model would somehow have YouTube saying "OK, these mainstream videos are able to be monetized by mainstream ads from companies A B and C, while these fringe/controversial videos can be monetized by whatever companies X Y and Z want to."


This person videos weren't even strange or fringe...

The attacker videos seemly were mostly about exercising, vegan diet, and some lighthearted videos...

AFTER demonetization, seemly some videos with criticism about Youtube and US, saying that Iran (her home country) had more free speech than US, showed up.


From saved screenshots of her YouTube channel, she'd put up/shared videos of really violent animal cruelty. Animals being skinned alive/boiled, etc. Somehow I don't think it was the workout videos that were the most offensive to YouTube.


From what I understand, this is an example of the issues of algorithms not being able to understand context. We would obviously want to discourage animal cruelty, but graphic depictions of animal cruelty from an anti-cruelty perspective also get the crackdown. It could lead to a scenario where bad things continue to happen just because any depiction of them is filtered as advocating for it.

At the risk of drumming up unneeded controversy, it reminds me of when Marine Le Pen in France tweeted graphic images from ISIS actions as a rallying cry against them, only to be charged by the state with circulating violent content inciting terrorism ( https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/mar/01/marine-le-pen-... ). Without proper application of context and judgment, a terrorist spreading propaganda and an anti-terrorist illustrating the terrorist's propaganda would be seen as the same sort of thing.

Of course, there's no simple solution -- we wouldn't want a world in which someone could get out of responsibility for spreading needlessly graphic content just by saying "oh I was just spreading it for educational purposes!".

Can automated processes ever hope to achieve the nuance we need in our societies?


> MLP in France tweeted graphic images from ISIS actions as a rallying cry against them

Well, it's not exactly that: it was a response to a comment from a journalist, which could be interpreted as equating the Front National (MLP's party) to ISIS.


Her site's still up.

http://nasimesabz.com/


I agree with this view, platforms like Youtube (and Reddit) can't be allowed to hide behind this veil of being "private". As major platforms, they're important channels for speech. I think once a private company has amassed this level of the public attention their influence needs to be kept in check. The profits will stay private, but there needs to be limits on what they can "limit". I think it's a similar argument to why a diner can't choose to not serve a person only on their ethnicity.

I think all speech should be protected (the good, the bad, and the weird). Ideas should die on their own merits.


But YouTube is serving them - the videos are kept online. They just don't show ads on them.


But we allow people of colour to dine. As long as they keep to themselves in the separate room and pay a big premium.


more like you can come to work but you won't get paid if we don't like you


> Be sure to remind youtube of their power and responsibility after tragedy strikes.

To be clear - they aren't actually responsible for an active shooter showing up on campus. It sounds like you're saying they could have some responsibility in someone coming to their office with a gun.


While they're not directly responsible, the problem was entirely of their making. They created a whole new profession (even my 8-year-old son wants to grow up to be a "professional youtubber") and then arbitrarily destroy careers.

The created an environment where people could work hard to create their own destiny while giving themselves the ability to destroy those destinies without cause or recourse.

It was only a matter of time until one of those furious victims took up a gun to get revenge.


> The created an environment where people could work hard to create their own destiny while giving themselves the ability to destroy those destinies without cause or recourse.

> It was only a matter of time until one of those furious victims took up a gun to get revenge.

I strongly disagree that given YouTube's arbitrary policies murderous retaliation was inevitable.

However, your pointing to the economic context of Ms. Nasim's grievance with YouTube is very helpful.

Before continuing, I want to clarify that whatever may have motivated Ms. Nasim to take the actions she took, I believe her actions are ultimately unjustified and unbearably tragic and that no one is responsible for what Ms. Nasim did except Ms. Nasim herself.

Concerning the economic context, the arbitrary foreclosure of a career path where the contractor (YouTuber?) has little to no recourse over her livelihood highlights problems with the unequal power between platform and content generator.

I believe platform owners (like YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, etc.) have the ability to make matters more equitable. Attempting to make platforms that rely on user-generated content more equitable undoubtedly will present new challenges, but such consideration for the people whose labor a platform depends for its existence is the moral and ethical thing to do.

Giving content generators more power over the monetization of their content is the right thing to do.

EDIT: add a "the"


> I strongly disagree that given YouTube's arbitrary policies murderous retaliation was inevitable.

It's the law of large numbers at work. With how many youtubers there are, and how severely some have been impacted, and how two faced/hypocritical they've been, and the current state of mental health in america I don't think it's rational to believe the risk is zero.


So basically every company who has ever laid off or fired an employee should expect at some point to fall victim to a mass shooting?


I'm not saying that they would deserve it.

If a company algorithmically fired portions of their workforce every day without even talking to those employees or giving them a chance to appeal, then I would expect something terrible to eventually happen. I would expect that eventually an employee would snap under the injustice of the situation and commit a mass shooting, just like eventually an employee would commit suicide.

Firings/layoffs are stressful and those edge cases happen already. When you add in a feeling of "injustice", then I postulate that those edge cases become a little bit more common.


This is just getting confused between an incentive and a right. Making money on YouTube isn't exactly protected under labor laws in the same way a job is.

Ad money provides an incentive to make money, encouraging you to post some video. It isn't exactly a salary paying thing like a job.

Sure every once in a while some kid could become a millionaire posting reviews on toys. That rarely means everybody can or must.

Its also in a way the plight of so many street performers and musicians. When you go to Pier 39 in San Francisco, many performers are on the verge of begging for tips. People don't understand the concept of paying for content, and most of it works like 'Bystander effect'- If I'm not paying may be somebody else is.


I think the problem with youtube is they have the choice of either using algorithms to filter/monetize content or extremely limiting the amount of content they host/monetize. I don't think employing people is an option for them. I don't think youtube generates enough revenue for this to be a possibility. I think this is a case of its just not possible to run the youtube business without heavy use of algorithmic filtering. Which I guess kind of sucks if you are making your livelihood from youtube. But I don't think this is a problem that is going to be solved in the near future.


Homicide has long been the number 2 cause of death in the workplace in the U.S. You can find statistics going back as far as 1992. Layoffs are indeed often a motivation.

Hence the term, "going postal."


Homicide has long been the number 2 cause of death in the workplace in the U.S.

That stat doesn't pass the sniff test, so I looked up some numbers[1].

In 2016, there were 500 workplace homicides in the US. No where near the 2nd most common cause of death.

[1]https://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/cfoi.pdf


It depends on if you group together accidental deaths. Homicide is not number 2 if you break all the accidents out, for example, "vehicle accidents," "falls," etc. are both more frequent than homicides. If you group together accident-types, then homicide is number 2 and you will often see it referred to as such.

https://www.osha.gov/dte/grant_materials/fy03/46j3-ht47/prev...

I should have clarified that I can see how it would seem improbable.


It looks like it depends how you group the causes around it. A more easily defensible way to put it is that around one in ten US workplace deaths are caused by homicide.


Those who make a huge point of abstracting all their decisions so that no specific point of human accountability can be defined, yes.

If you get your plans and (faltering) livelihood ruined by some Big Boss Man, you absolutely could be filled with rage, but the chances that you will direct that rage at some random secretary in a wholly other division is nil. You can identify the boss that fired you, you are enraged, maybe you try to revenge yourself and maybe not, and maybe you feel that just telling the world how rotten that guy is, will suffice.

If you're not allowed any focus for your rage because the organization is completely abstracted, those are the conditions under which 'just any employee' might seem like just as valid a target: there is literally nobody available who would seem more to blame.

So, lay off people in person if you want to minimize (a) the chances of an attacker mass murdering just employees, and (b) the chances of that person being completely deprived of any other outlet for their rage. I mean, if they knew who you were they could make a doll of you and stick pins in it. How are you going to make a voodoo doll of 'Youtube'? How are you going to let people go 'My monetization got taken away, and I'm down $30 a month I was using to feed my kid, and it's THAT GUY's fault!'

If you expose only the blameless as a target, you take away the chance for people to vent more productively, just for your own personal comfort. You're a cog in the Google machine, but you've got human shields.


Yes? This is not something new in the age of mass shootings, e.g. "going postal" has long been used as a crude shorthand to describe homicidal violence perpetrated by disgruntled employees. In cases such of those we never have a problem condemning the violence while simultaneously recognizing qualities of the work environment that led the employee to the disgruntled state.


Statistically, yes, i.e. every company that has ever laid off or fired an employee should expect the possibility at whatever the relevant probability is.


Yes. I'd also like to add this: I believe there's a direct correlation with how unreachable the decisions of the corporation are. Youtube and Google in general are notoriously unreachable by users and regular humans: it's not ONLY wielding the ability to obliterate other peoples' plans, it's also the choice to do so behind a faceless corporate mask.

People really like protesting, people like yelling at those who've wronged them, people like finding the boss and giving 'em a piece of their mind. If you can yell at the person responsible for ruining your big plans, you've probably vented that feeling safely. If you can identify some middle manager or CEO as responsible for actions that have harmed you, then you can go yell at that person.

Creating a situation where 'go murder random employee people, as many as possible' seems like an appropriate choice, is actually quite difficult. If you can identify ANY more relevant target for your anger then you focus on that target, and if you can identify other humans then there are a wide range of options for hurting those humans non-lethally (including shame, simple verbal abuse and so on)

YouTube gives itself the ability to destroy individual humans' plans/destinies FACELESSLY. This is in fact the problem with setting up massive unanswerable corporate power as a faceless system. It enables you to abuse people far more than you could get away with face to face, or as a corporate manager publically known and subject to social pressures.

Unfortunately, when you abuse people on a vast scale while giving them no legitimate outlet for their anger, you expose your own people to personal danger to the extent they can be identified as you… since you aren't allowing anyone important to be identified as you. (the scale is important because it means that, statistically, you'll sometimes be extremely unjust to somebody that can be dangerous)


GP's contention is that the media was the ultimate cause of the destroyed careers, because it began the moral panic against ads on inappropriate content.


>It was only a matter of time until one of those furious victims took up a gun to get revenge.

[citation needed, God help us all]


They didn't create anything, streamers and "Youtubers" would have existed with or without Youtube. They'd exist on twitch and other services if Youtube went down. Youtube was just at the right place at the right time and there's a lot more to youtube than e-celebs.

>It was only a matter of time until one of those furious victims took up a gun to get revenge.

Damn, that's a pretty fatalist viewpoint and an odd way to state that. "We updated the ToS, somebody went and shot a few of our employees, oh well, what can we do?". It's very tempting to let the discussion stray into "Americans and gun violence" at this point but I guess I'll stop there.


People ahould not put too much trust in youtube-like companies. If you have a youtube career you don't really have a real career/job. You just found a way to make easy bucks. Youtube is not the "internet" of videos. You can have your own website


That's not exactly right. First you would need to know how to use an ad system, probably DFP and maybe DFP Premium if you're expecting a high audience, and probably an organisation to book and handle all those ads to maximise your income. Your website also needs the infrastructure to be able to deliver your content to your audience. That can be hard for a non-technical person, hard and expensive.

So, you have a website with your videos, you have proper advertising on your videos, maybe a subscription system setup. What next? Where do you get your audience?

Today the universal truth is that you get your audience on Youtube, and to some extent Vimeo. You just lost practically 100% of potential customers.


It’s absurdly expensive to live in many parts of the US, and incomes in those same places can be insultingly low.

You can depend desperately on extra income even if you have a job (or two). “Real career/job” is just not something many people can count on in the US, and hasn’t been for a long time. I strongly recommend that you learn more about this. People are really, really hurting right now, no matter how many millionnaires there are.


It goes both ways, YouTube willingly starts business agreements with these people and makes money off their content.

You can't act shocked and surprised if a mentally ill person snaps when you've been happily profit sharing that mentally ill persons content and then change the deal.

YouTube/Google likes to think these relationships are all one way and not think about the consequences of their choices and algorithms on peoples lives. I'm actually surprised it took this long for this to happen, it was a morbid inevitability in my eyes.

If YouTube/Google can't understand when money is involved actions have consequences then maybe the whole partner program should be scrapped.


To some degree, it is though. YouTube has a quasi-monopoly on the promotion and discovery of video content, which is far more important than the distribution (which you're correct, is relatively cheap and straightforward)

If a business capriciously de-indexed from Google search, I think there'd be plenty of room for criticism of Google. I don't think there's a terribly large difference here. It might not rise to the level of illegality, and it certainly doesn't justify shooting employees, but I do think it's a predictable result.


Completely fails to understand network effects and the history of internet business (indeed, big box stores preceding internet business).

Please do not suggest 'you can make your own website' is an answer to issues around the management of massive, subsidized content-aggregation platforms. A thing like YouTube cuts off the air supply of competitors, especially when it's run at a loss, and individual web hosts are not remotely comparable.


YouTube has dedicated caching hardware installed at ISPs, for example. How do plan to compete with that kind of infrastructure?


sounds like this is your way of saying "they were asking for it"


> It was only a matter of time until one of those furious victims took up a gun to get revenge.

A victim of a free service? The degree of entitlement on display here is ridiculous. You have no right to the service to begin with, no right to the audience and no right to the income. All you have is the potential, and if you don't like the terms of service you can instead of bringing a weapon to the company you disagree with fuck off and host your own content.

If all business disputes were sorted out by people taking up arms then it would be a pretty wild world.


Of course they are not responsible for the actions of the shooter, or anyone who decides to use violence to make their point. They are partly responsible for the mounting rage at their increasingly arbitrary treatment of users, and near-total lack of transparency about it, which has been festering for years, and is getting worse. They are quite responsible for those arbitrary decisions themselves. What's that bit about freedom not implying freedom from consequences? These things are related. 'Victim blaming' and other thought-stopping catch-phrases aside.


I'm fairly certain they were including that in the media's reaction and participation in this.


Of course not. I'm referring to hints of victim blaming in the media: https://www.recode.net/2018/4/4/17196704/youtube-susan-wojci...


Actually I disagree. Obviously responsibility is shared and primarily owned by Nasim but some is also owned by youtube.

Think of it like this - does youtube bear some responsibility when creators leave the platform because of demonetization? Of course. Does youtube bear some responsibility when creators make lots of angry videos because of demonetization? Of course. Does youtube bear some responsibility when demonetization is implemented in a way that feels arbitrary to it's creators? Of course. Does youtube bear some responsibility for failing to stand up and protect it's creators from some of the advertisers demands? Of course.

The company makes decisions that affect some peoples lives in a profound way thus they also have some responsibility in the direct and indirect effects of those decisions.


Respectfully, that's bullshit. There is nothing that YouTube could have done that makes an active shooter their fault.

"Maybe if they hadn't been so mean...". News flash: normal people don't go on a shooting spree when bad things happen in life.

This is squarely the fault of a psychologically troubled woman. Discussions about YouTube's monetization policies shouldn't even be part of the story.


There's something akin to burying one's head in the sand about this approach. Implying YouTube has no reason whatsoever to examine itself. The actions of psychopaths can be like canaries. You can say there's no relationship between YouTube and the shooter's actions, but I think that's a bad idea. I believe the drastic rise in mass shootings is itself symptomatic of something. Something that is being drowned out by all the yelling about guns. Why so much rage in a supposedly civilized and wealthy society?


>Discussions about YouTube's monetization policies shouldn't even be part of the story.

Features of the environment that lead troubled people to lash out should certainly be a part of the story.


Part of her psychological (and business) troubles was her inability to silently tolerate widespread torture of dogs and other animals. She hurt 4 people and killed herself, while YouTube suppressed information that exposed chronic dog torture.


>Respectfully, that's bullshit. There is nothing that YouTube could have done that makes an active shooter their fault.

Why so black and white? I'm arguing for a shared responsibility. I even acknowledge that most of it lies with Nasim just that youtube also shares a piece, I don't think that's really an extreme viewpoint.

>News flash: normal people don't go on a shooting spree when bad things happen in life. This is squarely the fault of a psychologically troubled woman. Discussions about YouTube's monetization policies shouldn't even be part of the story.

Actually I do think some normal people go on shooting sprees when bad things happen in life. The idea that if you commit a shooting you must be mentally troubled seems wrong to me, it allows us as a society to remove our responsibility from these peoples lives. Besides it's not as if being 'psychologically troubled' just springs from the ether. Of course sometimes it can but it can also be caused by life stressors such as the ones youtube introduced to the life of this woman. Take this from Wikipedia:

In 1993, the United States Congress conducted a joint hearing to review the violence in the U.S. Postal Service. In the hearing, it was noted that despite the postal service accounting for less than 1% of the full-time civilian labor force, 13% of workplace homicides were committed at postal facilities by current or former employees.[19]

I'd say that there was something specifically and especially dehumanizing about working for the postal service and that the postal service had a shared responsibility in the fact that this happened. To say that youtube had no responsibility here and that the postal service had no responsibility with it's shootings demonstrates that we can see individual factors at play but are purposefully blinding ourselves to the systematic factors at play. I'm just saying that both play a role in actions like this and that implies a shared responsibility.


I think you're confusing being part of the reason behind something and being responsible for it.

When a fit minded adult makes a decision out of his own free will, there's a lot of factors and reasons involved. However, since it's his decision, he's the only one responsible for it.


This seems... curious. It might be an appealing simplification of a terrifyingly complex world to operate on the basis of the binary attribution of responsibility; but I really think it's a bias that we should fight to overcome.


They absolutely are responsible.

Imagine if Uber started randomly denying drivers payment, taking away their source of income for arbitrary reasons with no chance of appeal. It would only be a matter of time before someone showed up at their door with a gun.

Only the shooter is guilty of the crime. But YouTube is responsible. And the courts will agree when the victims sue.


This is absolutely a "no-win" situation in my mind. Everyone is acting in their best interests, and in many cases are acting benevolently, but the outcome is still awful.

Obviously YouTube is going to cave to advertiser pressure and start to restrict what videos can have ads, their whole existence depends on it, and if I worked at YouTube i'd see demonetizing some videos as a welcome alternative to closing the whole thing down.

I don't blame the advertisers one bit from wanting to remove their ads from many videos. Once the media starts playing the game that "an ad on the video == the advertiser agrees with the message" I too would want to do everything I can to ensure that I'm not associated with bad things.

Media outlets are (in many cases) just trying to report on things. They are (correctly) pointing out how many users and creators are upset with YouTube's moves in this case, and how many advertisers are upset about being associated with "bad" videos.

Obviously there are things that each group can do better (YouTube could stand up to the Advertisers a bit more, Advertisers could push back on the notion that "an ad == approval", and the media could stop trying to "stir up" controversy), but in each case the thing that is better for society is worse for that group (at least in the short term). I can absolutely see an alternate universe where people are boycotting Coke because they allow their ads to run on gun videos, or where YouTube ends up losing out to even more money because they won't enact more strict rules about which videos can have ads.

I don't know the answer here, but it's obvious that the current "solutions" aren't working.


> Advertisers could push back on the notion that "an ad == approval"

Ads are far more than just "approval", they're funding. An ad appearing with a video is funding the production of more, similar videos.

It's quite meaningless to "boycott" a service that you're not paying money for, but people recognise that the modern flow of money around the economy is extremely indirect. This results in a lack of moral accountability. Campaigners aim to collapse the distance between those spending the money and the actual actions that result, to say "are you really happy paying for this to happen?"


If you want to look at causes then I fear that it's not the monetization itself that's the problem but youtube's 'burned bridge' approach to communication. I've seen several people complain about the non-communicative stance YouTube has taken, leaving people with little to no ways of recourse.

To me it seems likely that this person felt that this was the only way they could 'reach' YouTube.


With 50 million channels it's impossible to give quality communication to everyone, so they prioritize based on size/viewership/ad dollars. Top creators have great communications channels - nobody's don't. It's not YouTube's responsibility to stroke everyone's fragile ego.

The problem is people thinking they are more important than they are and then going to extreme lengths to make themselves relevant. That's what mass shooters are, people with egos that don't have the influence to match.


>it's impossible to give quality communication to everyone

This is wrong though. See Valve for a counter example. Steam is also run by algorithms but Valve has managed to give people tons of information on what their algorithms are doing at various points on their store ("this game was shown to you because of X, Y and Z", for instance). The communication problem that YouTube has can be solved by them improving their product and letting creators see more of what their algorithms are doing behind the scenes, like Valve did with Steam.


You can't compare communicating with users that are buying stuff (Steam customers) and communicating with paid creators (The 50M+ YouTube Channel content creators). It's a completely different set of questions/answers and a completely different relationship.


You can and he did. The main thing lacking in YouTube other than communication (which is not good - delays are inevitable but compete lack of is not) is actual reason. This is probably because they either cannot offer a real reason (either physically or because it'd expose the incompetence) or do not want it to be known (ulterior motives).


> This is absolutely a "no-win" situation in my mind.

We'll, people can just understand the algorithms are flawed and not blame the advertisers for having an ad for toilet paper next to an video of someone TPing a house.


Discussed this in the other thread, but there's nothing stopping YouTube from doing a video tagging system and making creators tag their works.

Softly (the toilet paper brand) simply deselects 'pranks' as a tag to advertise on.


> I don't blame the advertisers one bit from wanting to remove their ads from many videos. Once the media starts playing the game that "an ad on the video == the advertiser agrees with the message" I too would want to do everything I can to ensure that I'm not associated with bad things.

Why do we do that on youtube when we don't do that on TV? Do we assume that if you're ad runs during <some sitcom> you agree with the jokes in it?


Happens on TV relatively often. Bill O'Reilly got the boot because advertisers pulled their ads after he got caught up in sexual harassment claims.

TV just has also built up years of trust with advertisers and have legal departments reviewing all their content while YouTube was throwing up ads in front of ISIS recruitment videos.


You're probably right, I don't watch cable TV so it was a poor comparison.

Nobody is complaining that ISIS is losing their youtube ad revenue stream, that's a strawman argument. ISIS recruitment videos violate youtube's guidelines so they'd just be taken down, that's not what we're talking about here. What's actually happening is videos that have a dissenting or unpopular viewpoint have their ads removed, with a lot of harmless content caught in the crossfire due to the indiscriminate nature of youtube's algorithms.


This happens pretty often, currently other media outlets are pressuring advertisers to pull support from Laura Ingraham and effectively de-monetize the show. That's just the latest example though.

Also, the FCC regulates broadcast TV and commercials. you can't simply run an obscene advertisement just because the station and/or station's audience approves it.


>Why do we do that on youtube when we don't do that on TV?

Our society does do that on TV and radio. Consider the recent boycott attempts against Laura Ingraham: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boycott_in_support_of_David_Ho...

>Do we assume that if you're ad runs during <some sitcom> you agree with the jokes in it?

I don't think most people actually assume that the advertiser literally agrees with all the content they are running ads on. Rather, I think that people have found that it's an effective ideological weapon.

Going after the advertisers to attack content is a tactic that works. The attackers don't have to literally think that the advertisers are morally signing on with the content, they just have to think that enough people out there think that, and that the advertisers are risk-averse to bend the knee, that it's a useful tactic.


Advertisers pull their ads to flex their muscles in the tv industry all the time.


I don't understand why it's a problem at all. Can't YouTube enact settings for advertisers to choose which videos they want to advertise on. Some of the obvious things to filter could be video category, view count, number of likes/dislikes, comments. Instead of demonetizing channels, they could tag them controversial and allow advertisers to say they don't want to advertise on controversial channels. Seems a lot better than a blanket ban on advertisements.


In many cases, the advertiser doesn't have direct control over their ad placement.

You're thinking the marketing manager at Coke clicking buttons in an admin panel on youtube.

The reality is 3 layers of management inside Coke, 2 external advertising agencies, a brand management company, ad aggregators and 3rd party ad exchanges and resellers, video networks, then youtube.

When the boss at coke sees an ad next to dubious content, it's much easier for them to say "don't advertise on youtube" than "switch this special setting on youtube to avoid controversial channels".

Youtube is taking the "safe" approach by not allowing such advertising at all.


> Media outlets are (in many cases) just trying to report on things.

I would be more guarded and say in some cases. The previous comment's accusation that "mainstream" media, televisual, radio, & written, is stoking the anti-youtube sentiment has legs to stand on. Self publishing and social media are their competition and as they are getting desperate they are playing dirty. This is true of both the big players and some collectives of small players (which like those in the Sinclair Broadcast Group are effectively one big player as the individual outles have to tow the corporate line). The hope that moving bits of advertising budgets away from online outlets will mean that some of it comes back their way.

Of course this doesn't in any way make them culpable for the events at youtube's offices this week.

Similarly while youtube's terrible user support (which I'm told is very much in keeping with Google's apparent policy of "like we give a fuck about individuals"), while it may have increased her ire, can't be considered even partly responsible either.

The woman obviously had issues, and they were going to blow up in someone's face sooner or later if not treated. I can't pretend I have an answer, as it is a very complex issue, but a key part of the problem is the lack of support available for those with mental problems, and the lack of ways to protect the rest of society from the fallout when something pushes people over the edge.

Lack of gun control is also part of the problem too IMO (sure she could have attacked with a knife instead, but knife attacks are generally less deadly).


Scott Alexander's essay "Meditations on Moloch" is relevant here: http://slatestarcodex.com/2014/07/30/meditations-on-moloch/

The no-win situation you describe is a prime example of "Moloch."


This is fantastic. Thanks for sharing.


Everyone is acting in their best interest, except youtube. Youtube has a product team, its their job to come up with solutions to problems like these. If they haven't found a solution, they haven't done their job. Full stop.


What is the "solution" here? There is only mitigation, it's not a problem that could ever be completely solved to the satisfaction of all parties.


Agreed it can't be solved completely (like a lot of problems), but a non-binary monetisation option (ie, content tags, where advertisers pick tags they'd like to include/excluse) would be a hell of a lot better.


Foresight and planning. Don't tie to another's platform without expecting cutoffs (pagerank, YouTube, apple front page, amazon serverless , etc)


I'm not an American. The fact that a targeted online advertisement shown before the video is associated with the video and not with the platform, and requires damage control is perplexing and unexplainable to me... "There is no direct relationship between the video and the ad - It's matched by the machinery to the viewer, not to the video." should be the official answer and the end of the story.

Is an ad exposure before a "controversial" video any different in its effect compared to "acceptable" video exposure? It shouldn't be. I presume ad-to-video strong association is some kind of established US norm, where you pressure companies to "pull ads" when something offends you. Not being able to pull ads in a targeted manner is unacceptable I suppose, and that great American institution of pulling ads is "ought to be preserved".

Also I don't understand why Youtube went with advertisers' demands -- they have near-monopoly, big coffers and can impose their own rules. Like "You can't dictate at the start of which particular video your ads are shown, only the demographics and some keywords". The current set of rules is giving advertizers the power they shouldn't really have. It's as if the ogranization is willing to implement what equals to advertizers moralistic/political policing of content.


Here's the rationale:

The advertisement pays for the video. Without the ads to provide money for a given type of video, there will be less of them and they will be less sophisticated. Thus, whether an advertiser likes it or not, they are supporting the video content, albeit indirectly.

Also, I don't think advertisers care at all to engage in moralistic or political policing of content. They just want to sell stuff. Being associated with controversial content offends people, which drives away what could otherwise be good paying customers. So they just want to avoid it.


>The advertisement pays for the video.

Advertisers pay for ad exposures on this platfrom, not for the video. The fact that some money goes not only for infrastructure but also to the creators, should be considered just a side effect of the need to increase viewcounts, and as a result ad exposures. Any attempt to associate particuilar algorithmically matched ads to videos and vice versa should be considered as a powergrab and an attempt at speech policing, IMO. Which is exactly what media fishing for unsightly associations is doing.

>Being associated with controversial content offends people, which drives away what could otherwise be good paying customers.

I doubt that a controversial video after youtube ads has any significant effect on driving away or attracting paying customers. Your statement requires proof. If viewers willingly choose to watch a video with a controversial topic, it's their choice, and their taste. As for media fishing expeditions "this company's algorithmically matched ad was shown before this controversial video" -- I doubt anyone reads or takes this seriously. At least at youtube video scale.

>Also, I don't think advertisers care at all to engage in moralistic or political policing of content.

Are you telling me people don't want power? Are you telling me ad and silicon valley companies workforce are not all elite college educated and espause particular political views? Are you telling me humanities departments are not basically training political activists?


I get that you have a different viewpoint.

I'm only explaining the viewpoint of others, not trying to argue to change yours. IMO, you're welcome to your viewpoint, if it doesn't involve harming others. Just understand that it isn't necessarily shared by the various actors in this situation and that if you understand their viewpoints you can better understand what's going on here.


We could take your viewpoint further and start complaining about the ad that shows after a video, and before the next video.

That would be even wider scope for stirring up controversy.


> Also I don't understand why Youtube went with advertisers' demands -- they have near-monopoly

When this happened, total ad spend on youtube dropped dramatically. It was a real emergency inside youtube. Had it continued for any long period of time, I would guess youtube would have been forced to close.


The irony is that reporters themselves are driven by advertising pressure. I'm fond of saying that "any premise that can attract eyeballs will eventually appear as an article on an ad-revenue-driven website".


I will cite this as "Hliyan's Law" from now on.


> The irony is that reporters themselves are driven by advertising pressure.

I don't see the irony. Perhaps they are just saying "my content is better, that ad-money belongs to me!"


That law is not absolute since reporter's value is ostensibly tied to their reputation and credibility.


Hah! Ain’t that the truth.


I get how that gets some channel into trouble: politics, guns. Than channel was apparently a Iranian-American vegan animal rights activist.

I’m not a vegan, but I don’t see the point in opposing them. Other than the banter about how in-your-face they can be, do people violently oppose vegans, or animal rights activists? She was upset over a workout video being age-gated: who would oppose that video?


There is something very ironic about a person that is supposedly so careful about animal rights that they will change their diet to relieve the pressure who at the same time has no problems in bringing a gun into the offices of a free service and shooting random strangers.


There is sadly a small segment of animal-rights or environmental advocates who let their cause mutate into a sort of misanthropy or disregard for humans. At its mildest levels it manifests as the half-joking comments of "we don't deserve dogs" or "dogs are the best people" that are all the rage on imgur et al., at its more severe levels it becomes anger or violence against those perceived to be enabling oppression of animals seen as pure innocents.



There are also sadly some segments of the human rights community who will hurt or even kill people to stop those people from torttuo or killing himans


I wouldn’t want to defend someone who opened fire on innocent people but I also think we can’t say she had no problem doing this. She is/was clearly troubled. I watched a few of her videos before and it was either scripted or she had problems for a long time.

Mental health is no joke. She shouldn't had any access to any guns. To be fair though, I haven't read about how she acquired the gun.


Not really. It's common to support animal rights while despising humans. This is especially true amongst those who subscribe to the more fringe animal activism groups that as an example free animals used for medical or cosmetic testing from their 'evil human captors'.


They'll be shocked when they realize we too are animals.


Jacques, you are smarter than that.

WWII Allies killed Nazis to save humans. They weren't shocked to realize that Nazis were humans.


The de-humanization of both Nazi's from the allied perspective and the Jews from the Nazi perspective is well documented.

So yes, that's exactly how it was.


Because shooting employees of a paid service is better?

You seem to be confusing respect for animal life with pacifism. Fighting to defend the helpless is company with caring for the helpless. Soldiers kill people to defend their countrymen.


"Hitler followed a vegetarian diet. At social events he sometimes gave graphic accounts of the slaughter of animals in an effort to make his guests shun meat."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adolf_Hitler#Health


So one should be careful in interpreting the term animal rights. In the past, animal rights activists have burned down houses of medical researchers.


> do people violently oppose vegans

I doubt being vegan is the key here.

Though there is a fair amount of bullying, through ad-homenim attacks or idiots just trying to wind people up for shits & giggles. There are also some with a persecution complex that seem to take even the slightest criticism as a violent attack. This is not constrained to veganism though: there are similarly unhinged people in many walks of life.

> or animal rights activists?

I expect this is the more important factor. Being a vegan is likely a consequence of her strong feelings in this area (the fact that some are highlighting the vegan thing is an example of the bullying I mention above). Animal rights is a very emotive area and some people (a few, but a very active and vocal few) get dangerously passionate about it to the point of losing all view of any other logic or moral sensibility (like not killing human animals).

> a workout video being age-gated: who would oppose that video?

I've not seen the video in question so I can't make specific guesses, but there are a couple of possibilities that spring to mind:

* Some people are very puritan about the showing of skin and so forth, perhaps there was a complaint about that sort of thing?

* Was anything potentially divisive said during the workout clip, even in passing? Given her apparent anger at the world that is not unlikely.

* It could just be someone that disagrees with her views on something else. Down-voting and reporting entirely unrelated content in response to something else is an immature but very common reaction.


Animal rights activists are fighting back against animal exploiters' chronic lack of moral sensibility.


Fighting fire with fire...


Probably some busy bodies were upset about her other videos (the animal rights ones?) and decided to mass report her other work out videos and they got age-gated. Another person has a different opinion on the internet so destroying their livelihood is the correct response.


At the end of the day it is still a private company and if it wants to censor or otherwise supress certain types of content it is free to do so. Everyone is also free of course to criticize it for bias and/or use another video sharing site.

Also I don't see the last part about their responsibility in the shooting. Had this been a gun (2nd Amendment) fanatic whose gun demo videos were banned, like many on Reddit prematurely guessed, I don't think anyone would be saying " youtube is responsible for this". Now that it is a woman and she was pro-animal rights suddenly the blame is starting to shift towards YouTube, gun laws, society in general.


YouTube is not transparent about it's algorithm, this produces a lot of frustration because of uncertainty.

The algorithm also seems very poor implemented, like it should give the benefit of the doubt, like if I have 10 wrongly flagged videos that a human decided it is advertising friendly then mark my channel as "trusted" and don't allow the AI to de-monitize the video , flag it and have a human check it.

In the present the algorithm is favorable to YouTube and advertisers and creators suffer.


The words "demonetize" and "demonize" look remarkably similar.


It’s not the media’s fault. If you’re going to blame anyone - blame the advertisers. They are the ones with the money everyone (YouTube and YouTubers alike) is trying to get their hands on. Unfortunately they are the ones who hold the cards at the end of the day when it comes to their money.


I guess I'm not seeing where the media's part in this is bad. They're raising legitimate questions about programmatic advertising.


It's interesting how algorithmic the process of fabricating ( real or fake ) news has become.


> Be sure to remind youtube of their power and responsibility after tragedy strikes.

I don't think they have any responsibility for the shooting. None at all. Whether the videos were demonetized rightfully or not.


It wasn't the media that pulled the trigger.


that's a plausible narrative but where is the research thst shows this is an actual problem?


What’s with all of the conspiracy theory type comments on HN lately?


Sure the media played some part but really it seems to fall more on youtube to me. Youtube used to be a steady source of basically reliable income if you had 'made it.' So people flock to the platform, start producing tons of content and basically link their lives not just to the platform of youtube but to the job of video maker. This works out great for youtube, no real competition ever rises up because it can't buy away the big hitters, then once youtube has true, lasting dominance they begin to squeeze the people that got them there, they pay less, they start restricting content and worse as a content creator you can see other big channels getting away with what is prohibited to you. Youtube basically becomes the worst, most arbitrary boss at a piece work, gig economy crap job. And the creators have nowhere to go because all the competition was crushed long ago.

That type of systematic degradation always pushes some people beyond the edge but because internet companies are disconnected from their users/workers they've mostly been able to ignore these side effects. This woman's act is horrific but it's also illustrative of the effects these companies actually have on people's lives.


That's a very good analysis. You could apply that to just about anything in the news these days. What would you say are the worst organizations at manufacturing news?


Breitbart, Infowars, The Blaze, Fox News, Drudge.


Drudge is simply an aggregator that links to sites like CNN, Bloomberg, CNBC, Fox, AP, etc. Better to name the individual sites directly.


You forgot the Whitehouse.


The bad actors are only on one side of the political debate?


CNN, MSNBC, mainly


that sweet, sweet koolaid


I dislike Donald Trump, but, for example the CNN fish feeding story (CNN zoomed into an existing video, to obscure the Japanese president dumping their box of fish food, then zoomed out to show Trump dumping his, and made up a story about Trump commiting a faux pas by dumping his first) is provably false, and still up on CNN's site with no retraction or apology.

Likewise The Gaurdian's headline about the 'unarmed' guy with a gun is his car, which they were forced to retract by the PCC.


21st century reporters or "journalists" as they like to be called seem to be the equivalent of schoolyard tattletales.

The death of traditional media and "news" cannot happen soon enough.


Be careful what you wish for.


>For whatever reason

Anyone that’s been paying attention knows the reason. If you can’t attack free speech, make that speech too expensive. All of the recent controversial issues have one side scrambling to publicly list advertisers - see the March Against Guns tweets about who has deals with NRA or advertises on Fox News.

It’s a horrible tactic that’s very much mob censorship.


The Internet was supposed to be about the free exchange of information.

People treat Facebook, Google, etc. etc. etc. as if they themselves are "The Internet" when they are publishers. "You" are not publishing content on YouTube, YouTube is publishing your content. Just because they do almost nothing to curate what they publish, doesn't mean the little they do is some civil rights violation. We're learning with the Russia+Facebook thing that there is a fundamental problem with third party corporations publishing and promoting anybody's content automatically.

Nobody claims the New York Times violates free speech when they won't put some radical wonk's opinion on the front page.

If you want to publish your content with your own hardware on the Internet, you can. The tools aren't very good to do it, but you can. When the problem becomes network providers censoring your views, then come back to me.

When your definition of "censorship" becomes advertisers refusing to pay you for your whacky extremist views, your view of freedom has become distorted from the liberty to expression to the freedom from criticism.

YouTube, Facebook, etc. do not owe you publication rights. They are not public spaces.

The threat to freedom isn't non-public spaces exercising their rights, it's the nearly complete lack of actual public space online for anyone that isn't wealthy or a hacker.


>The threat to freedom isn't non-public spaces exercising their rights, it's the nearly complete lack of actual public space online for anyone that isn't wealthy or a hacker.

The issue is that, unless we have some sort of political movement toward a US-Government funded equivalent of YouTube, there will never be a public space online for the average person. More and more of daily social interaction is moving onto a platform on which everything is inherently private, where there is no public square anymore. I'm concerned about a future where technically you can scream on a physical public streetcorner but have it mean nothing at all in terms of impact on public discourse. "What good is speech if you are unable to make a phone call?" to twist the Matrix quote.

>If you want to publish your content with your own hardware on the Internet, you can. The tools aren't very good to do it, but you can. When the problem becomes network providers censoring your views, then come back to me.

The problem is that there's nothing fundamentally different about the arguments when it comes to the network providers. They're also private companies, why should they be forced at gunpoint to deliver content they disagree with? And yet we acknowledge that having the phone company shut you down for political speech on their phone lines would be an overstep even though the phone company is private.

At a certain point, the sheer dominance and size of some of these social media networks means we should be treating them differently. The fact that, as you say, "People treat Facebook, Google, etc. etc. etc. as if they themselves are The Internet" means that there is a distinction of kind that the citizenry are perceiving. I don't think the solution is just to say they're wrong, but rather to find a way to formalize this implicit categorization into something workable.

It seems like the options are to regulate, nationalize, or build government-funded public alternatives to mega-social-media systems. Other options are to add some better system of decentralization that nonetheless allows users to access the common public pool of an audience and not just ghetto-ize themselves into irrelevance and destitution.


I'm sorry, the market can and should solve this problem.

I don't want a federally run YouTube, and I don't want to rob publishers of the right to choose what to publish.

There's nothing preventing a company from selling hardware and software to enable you to publish yourself. It won't be free, it shouldn't be free.

The only "platform" that should be a public space is TCP on the Internet.

There is one problem with two solutions.

Social media giants aren't public spaces.

You can either force them to be public spaces through strict and probably ridiculous regulation or you can create fundamentally different ways to publish on the existing public space of the Internet as a whole.

Except it's not fundamentally different. Much more towards the beginning of the Internet the way you shared information with people was by setting up a web server and an email server. They were yours so there was nobody to censor you.

That creating things yourself action hasn't really moved into the 21st century. It is still possible but ever more the realm of experts.


"The Internet was supposed to be about the free exchange of information."

Actually, no, not at all. The Internet was for defense contractors to share information, and when made available to the public it was for corporations to sell services to the public. All that "free information" propaganda was just propaganda to get the public comfortable with allowing large scale surveillance technologies into their homes and to be carried on their persons. "Social media" is a genius re-writing of surveillance technologies.


My first access to the internet was through MichNet (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merit_Network ) which was motivated by connecting individuals to the various academic resources available on the internet.

It preceded the commercialization of the internet.


I was on ARPNET back in the 70's, when the only conversations were c programming and absurd humor.


YouTube, Facebook, etc. should be public spaces. The problem is they're right now one single public space and people can't disengage with speech they don't like, which is as much their right as I should have the right to publish it. You want centralised systems in order to reap benefits from economies of scale and so you can use the ad revenue from more acceptable publications to support publications on more controversial topics, which are, or might be, nonetheless important to society as a whole, even if certain citizen groups don't like them. And you want it centralised because no single person can bear the costs of publishing videos online.

Ultimately service providers have to take a stand for free speech and allow both the publishing of controversial media, as well as let people easily filter out what they don't want to see. I would really like to see a youtube in the model of reddit or 4/7/8chan where you can manually segregate by "board" and just not engage with speech you don't like. This entire problem is because each new user content publishing site has to re-learn the lessons from UseNet, except the ones that are popular today want to take away the voice of people they don't like and put them in some underclass that doesn't have access to what everyone else has. Let people pick their spaces, move or delete content that doesn't fit the space it's posted in and warn&ban repeat offenders.


>YouTube, Facebook, etc. should be public spaces

Where does it stop? Does the comment section on my personal blog have to be a public place? If I start a newspaper or open a book store do I have to publish or sell whatever anybody wants me to?

If I start a grocery store can I choose what to sell do the local farmers all get the right to sell in my store regardless of my wishes?

Where does it stop exactly?

> no single person can bear the costs of publishing videos online

I could. I am.

I have a server running Plex in the closet. It "publishes" videos over the Internet. Right now there are only two people who have access to see what I publish.

If I wanted to publish videos myself and let the public consume them, I could. It would take slightly different software, but the server is in the closet already. There might be some issues if something I published got to the front page of HN. There isn't much risk of that.


> Does the comment section on my personal blog have to be a public place?

If the comment section on your blog started to comprise 80-90% of all the comments on the Internet? Yeah, maybe it should,

There's so much distance between your hypothetical and what YouTube, Facebook, et al are doing that it's not even a "slippery slope" argument. Maybe a "slippery Marianas Trench" argument.


I'm not making a slippery slope argument. I'm asking where you draw the line.

Does Congress pass a bill declaring Facebook public? The rules can't be gut feeling, how do I tell the difference between a comment section that is a public place and one that isn't?

If there are two types of things: A which is a public place and B which isn't, how do I sort into those two bins?

"Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble"

What part of the first amendment guarantees me YouTube has to host and monetize my videos?

The government isn't allowed to tell me I can't say something or to punish me for doing so (with the exceptions decided by SCOTUS). The first amendment doesn't mean my neighbors have to be my friends if I use obscene language at dinner parties.

People seem to confuse the First Amendment and the Civil Rights Act.

The Civil Rights Act reached into much less public places and prevented certain behaviors. If YouTube was deleting videos because they were made by black people or Muslims or women, this would be a very different conversation. Religion, race, sex.... those are protected classes.

Freedom of expression doesn't mean your opinions are a protected class. The law doesn't and won't reach that far into the behaviors of private entities. The first amendment protects you from the government, nothing else.


> I'm not making a slippery slope argument. I'm asking where you draw the line.

Well, one starting point would be looking at past examples of antitrust action. The AT&T and Standard Oil cases might be instructive.

> What part of the first amendment guarantees me YouTube has to host and monetize my videos?

It doesn't necessarily have anything to do with the First Amendment. I think they should either be declared a common carrier (and thus required to serve all without discrimination) or (conversely) they should have their DMCA safe harbor privileges revoked.


>required to serve all without discrimination

"discrimination" legally is about protected classes, and like I said expressed opinions aren't protected classes.

Do you take 'required to serve all' as services without moderation? I don't really want to be surrounded by opinion anarchy.


One of the most basic rights people have in America is the right to protest. You're attempting to rebrand protesting as mob censorship.


No. This is no protest.

Protesting is great. Civil discourse is better.

Using your twitter gang to side channel attack the people you hate because you can’t make your point in a direct way - is nothing but intimidation.

You have no problem with this? Cool. Tell me how it’s “the American way” when it turns around on you.

A proxy war between assholes and advertisers is good for no one.


> You have no problem with this? Cool. Tell me how it’s “the American way” when it turns around on you.

Indeed. Robespierre, Trotsky, Ernst Röhm, and many others could tell you how this winds up.

The fire-breathing revolutionary extremists are always taken by surprise when the new regime no longer requires their services.


In fact, boycotts are seen as a form of protest (going back to the Irish guy with the surname Boycott). Many of the companies that have dropped their NRA-affiliations have been targeted by NRA members/sympathizers.

Your responses where you assume the political affiliations of the commenters are actually against HN guidelines in that you are not assuming good faith.


Why is it a "horrible" tactic? Citizens have a right to free speech, not to make massive profit off of it as a corporation.


Using a low information mob to attack the people who advertise at the same places the people you hate are posting material - is a shitty tactic.

It has no resemblance of discourse. It’s just intimidation.

Edit: thought experiment... you really think you’d have the same opinion if some alt-right group was using this tactic to shut out people you agree with?


So instead of making a “thought experiment”, why don’t you actually cite a case similar to what’s happening to Laura Ingraham?

In the case of the NRA’s sponsors being boycotted, you must be fucking kidding or forgot what happened to Delta, or that the NRA is still doing fine. It seems you are just as low-information as the mobs you deride.


Wait... you’re saying this isn’t a problem because only one side is manipulating public outrage and not both sides? And that “bad tactics” are OK if they don’t deliver a killing blow?

Dude, be honest. You are only OK with targeting advertisers because it lines up with your beliefs instead of allowing all speech and just making better arguments against those who you disagree.

Oh, surely this could never turn around on you!


No, I'm saying what the boycotts you cited weren't a problem. The NRA's right to free speech was not meaningfully harmed because it had many, many other members willing to stand up and continue paying dues (and ironically, it was Delta who was punished by legislators for backing out of its partnership with the NRA).

Laura Ingraham is being boycotted because she decided to tweet a childish insult against one of the Parkland shooting victims. You realize that dozens of prominent media personalities have pushed back against the Parkland survivors, right? Why haven't they been boycotted too if boycotting was as simple and easy as you suggest?

I'm arguing against your position because it seems to lack knowledge of how complicated real world discourse is. The First Amendment bars the government from banning speech; this gives citizens the responsibility to police themselves and corporations. But you're arguing for that to be taken away so that there is basically citizens have no legal recourse against speech they dislike? So how are any boycotts justifiable?

If you were more aware of how things actually worked, you would easily be able to cite boycotts that have gone against left-leaning people. I'll help you: Remember Kathy Griffin? [0]

[0] http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/opinion/the-conversation...

Numerous left-leaning celebrities, as well as personalities on CNN, have ripped into Trump. If what you fear was actually the reality, you would have no problem citing successful boycotts against left-leaning celebrities.


Should people be forced to provide for a platform that they find hateful and offensive?

You can make a point about government not being allowed to deny groups the freedom of speech, but there's absolutely nothing wrong with private people voting with their wallets to show where they stand in relation to speech that they feel that is threatening to them.


There is a difference between private people voting with their wallets and encouraging a mob to pressure a company to withdraw advertising from a company that they oppose politically.


As far as I know, the woman attacked him and his colleagues personally multiple times, she is a threat to them, they are raising awareness about what is happening and calling for action, they are declaring in a public way that they will not do businness with anyone that supports them.

It's not "encouraging a mob" if someone say "Hey, these companies are advertising with bigots and racists, let's do a boycott to show them that we will not tolerate this".

What you are saying is that they should "shut up and dribble"? Stay quiet with their heads low while they are being constantly attacked?

Calling for a boycott when you don't agree with someone is pretty far from "encouraging a mob" as you put.


They don't have the right to talk about who is supporting groups they disagree with?


It's a little humorous, as it really does indicate that the people who are complaining that their free speech is being attacked, are themselves, attacking free speech.

I'm not sure any of the people arguing points and counterpoints in our society's current free speech debate really value free speech?

I think it'd be a bit more accurate to say that these people value THEIR speech and freedom, not really the speech and freedom of others.


Bingo! Think Antifa or the students protesting someone at school and not letting them speak.


Your comment does illustrate my point.

YOU value the free speech of whoever is speaking, but not that of the counter protesters. Who themselves value THEIR free speech, but not that of whoever is speaking.

It's an intractable problem really.


But the counter protesters are free to organize their own speaker engagement. They ARE allowed to speak about their position. My point was that there is lack of civility in discourse. What's the point of interrupting another speaker? Let every speaker speak their mind, in an orderly manner, without interruption.

The problem is that some groups have defined "intolerance of intolerance" to be somewhat good, so then discourse stops.


Freedom of Speech, does not imply ORDERLY speech.

If a bunch of Americans want to yell at each other, they're free to do so. That's what the First Amendment is all about. And that's what I think you guys all don't understand. The government doesn't have to give you pristine conditions under which you can speak, they just have to let you speak.

Unfortunately... they have to let everyone else speak too.

At the same time if those people choose.

That's what freedom is all about. That's why America is great.


Of course they have the right to, but they also should value the open exchange of ideas in society, regardless of what's written in the Federal constitution. That open exchange is hard to have when folks on one side attempt to destroy the livelihood of the folks on the other side rather than argue their ideas directly.


Ironically, your comment appears to be in defense of free speech, but is actually attacking free speech in a quite fascistic manner by labeling an actual expression of true American liberty as "horrible mob censorship".

First off: In America, 1A free speech means the government cannot oppress you, NOT that private citizens cannot disagree with you and make their displeasure with your speech known.

Second off: Voting with your wallet (a "boycott") is Economic Free Speech. It's Free Markets in their most basic and pure form. The freedom of an actor to associate how they please. Anyone who suggests that we should not be free to spend our money how we please is acting beyond the pale in a free society.

Quite frankly, it's incredibly ironic that those in our society who used to pretend to be "pro Free Markets" and "pro Free Speech" and "pro Freedom of Association" are now howling and crying about people freely choosing to associate with cetain businesses based on their freely chosen private criteria.

And of course: relevant XKCD https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/free_speech.png

TL;DR: Free speech includes the freedom to not spend money with businesses whose speech you disagree with.


> ...your comment appears to be in defense of free speech, but is actually attacking free speech...

Let's back up. Opposition to free speech looks like using power to shut up ideas. Free speech, in contrast, prefers that ideas are best addressed with better ideas.

So GP criticizing tweets is fine. And I think it's a fair thought to consider whether these boycotts are just a combination of free expression and free association or whether they are more like expressions of social power and therefore bullying.

In defense of the latter view, the rejection of NRA funds has been too immediate to come from economic behavior. So we are left wondering what caused the sudden change of heart. GP might argue that it's fear of blacklisting and punishment at the hands of the relatively socially powerful. Though one could argue that each change of heart was genuine and based on a new appeal to morality and ethics.


>Let's back up. Opposition to free speech looks like using power to shut up ideas. Free speech, in contrast, prefers that ideas are best addressed with better ideas.

No, that's absolutely false. Opposition to free speech looks like using the government to censor people. FULL STOP. Shaming people who say bad things isn't opposition to free speech, it is itself free speech to respond to their free speech. You insistence that we should "be silent" in the face of those who say bad things is an assault on free speech IMO, and your "bullying" line is again an attack on free speech. "Don't respond to my speech, bully! You attack my rights when you use yours!"

Please read the American constitution. In America, Free Speech is a special concept and you have ignored that.

>So GP criticizing tweets is fine. And I think it's a fair thought to consider whether these boycotts are just a combination of free expression and free association or whether they are more like expressions of social power and therefore bullying.

Protip: Bullying bad actors is free speech, too. I have no problem with identifying anti-social speech and using social force to reprimand and demand conformity.

This is how you deal with racism and other anti-social behaviors. Shaming. Or if you prefer, bullying.

But you won't catch us with the Paradox of Tolerance. Intolerance of intolerance is vital the health of tolerance.


I think you're confusing the first amendment, which is about protecting free speech from government power, from free speech in general [1][2]. Free speech, in Enlightenment philosophy, is a natural right. It exists apart from whether the first amendment even exists. And natural rights can certainly be violated by governments, corporations, or private organizations.

> ...your "bullying" line is again an attack on free speech.

I think here you acknowledge that free speech is broader than just the first amendment. If it were only about that, I literally couldn't attack free speech by posting some text in a comment on the internet.

> Bullying bad actors is free speech, too.

So the question is "what speech isn't free?" I'd argue speech that moves beyond advocating a better idea. Examples include fraud and threats of violence. Applying social pressure to corporations that give NRA discounts is clearly neither of these. Arguably, a platform for speech (YouTube, HN) can and should use its freedom of association (removing content) to restrict freedom of speech (maybe to prevent doxxing).

> I have no problem with identifying anti-social speech and using social force to reprimand and demand conformity.

I can tell. There's an argument for that, but it's not free speech. You can argue that it's good nonetheless, I suppose.

[1] See the wiki article about "Freedom of Speech". It's certainly broader than just being about laws and regulations. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_of_speech

[2] https://www.quora.com/Does-freedom-of-speech-only-apply-to-U...


The NRA has done some very terrible things in America including getting the government to ban ALL RESEARCH into gun violence and getting the government to ban ALL DATABASING of gun running, gun smuggling, and gun crime.

So, any business which wants to support the NRA, who is anti-intellectually defending the gun violence epidemic through the destruction of research and the hamstringing of tools, in my book, doesn't deserve my dollars.

I want the gun violence epidemic to end, and it's pretty easy to see that the the NRA is the number one lobby and number one reason why common sense gun control that is strongly supported by 70 and 80% of the country cannot become law.

My free speech is that the NRA is a terrorist organization, and that any business who works with them and their members aids and abed's the gun violence epidemic, and absolutely deserves not even a cent of my attention or support.

It's MY LIBERTY to not associate with the NRA or ANY business who supports them, gives them aid, gives them discounts, or treats them in anyway better than anyone else.

You would infringe on my liberty to remove my free association and my free choice?

"I can tell. There's an argument for that, but it's not free speech. You can argue that it's good nonetheless, I suppose."

I apologize but you appear to be playing some "No True Free Speech" game where the only person who "knows" what free speech is you alone. I can never live up to your personal, no true scotsman of Free Speech, but I can speak about the American constitution, the American culture, the American concept of speech, and how we practice it (which I have done quite accurately).


I down voted because your argument assumes the market is not monopolised. I think you could have made a valid case but you don’t seem to acknowledge the complete economic situation in this case.


Are you seriously, in the age of the Internet, the age of self-publication, the age of the most blogs, vlogs, podcasts, shows of any era in history... that there exists a monopoly on speech platforms?

That's the most utterly ridiculous thing I've heard today.


I don't sympathize with shooting up a company's headquarters at all, but I feel that this could have been avoided by forcing Youtube (and, for that matter, all other social networks!) to have a way to reach an actual human support.

In the end, this is one of the "externalities" that get forced upon society when the big companies decide to cut corners on support. Some will... take matters into their own hands. Be it by spraying racist tweets as graffiti in front of the Hamburg Twitter office or by running amok, when they feel desperate enough. Desperation, especially perceived desperation, drives people to really horrible decisions - and demonetizing all videos of someone who depends on YT income for life is certainly enough to seriously mess with people.


I don't see a how you could come to a reasonable accommodation with someone who thinks, "You will let me do anything I want on your platform (with full benefits) or I'll shoot you."

This doesn't look like a support issue at all to me.


His point is if the person could have reached some kind of support they might never have ended up in such a desperate situation.

When I get really mistreated / fooled and can't reach any kind of human support and none of the "robotic" support options work - it's incredibly frustrating. Not to the point where I'd shoot someone, but I've definitely smashed my fist on a table once or twice.


I have been once in such point of frustration when I had not received prize for what I won in the competition and the person whom I was in contact with did not said that they can't pay me but just ignored my mail. And it was not even a huge amount, but it could be used for a semester in college.

Edit: I was emphasizing that I became irrationally frustrated, not that I didn't kill someone.


> Though I was not close to pick a gun.

You maybe not, but less mentally stable persons or those without any safety net? The US isn't known for good mental health care and also not for a safety net. Not everyone lives a privileged life.


It isn't so much that companies decide to cut corners on support, it's that at companies that operate at this scale (YT, FB, Twitter, etc ) the individual content-creator is a drop in the ocean. When she was de-monetized, it may have meant the world to her, but in YT's perspective it's not worth the time/effort to even have a conversation about it (say beforehand.)


Well, they made an economic tradeoff, and now people have been injured. As the famous comic says: "But for a beautiful moment in time we created a lot of value for shareholders.”


The problem is not Youtube support ...


Yea. To even suggest this is Youtube supports fault is absurd.


You can blame everything on a lunatic and that is right thing, but it won't change anything.


But she said she talked to the support team...


I mean a support team that has actual freedoms to help the customer and is not forced to operate on a script that has only one option to tell the customer: You're screwed.

Or, even better: as here the case seems to be that the shooter depended on Youtube as income, why shouldn't she have the right to have her effective "firing" appealed in a proper court of law, like in Germany?


It's been alleged that her videos were genuinely controversial (vegan screed, animal violence depictions). How is a support team going to fix that?

And the right to sue for redress of grievances is covered in the first amendment, for goodness sake. She didn't exercise it.


How is "vegan screed" controversial


Animal violence is controversial. I added the vegan bit to clarify that she wasn't, I dunno, a dog fighting afficionado. Her content (which, again, I haven't seen!) was "controversial", it wasn't a straightforward ToS violation.


> And the right to sue for redress of grievances is covered in the first amendment, for goodness sake. She didn't exercise it.

Good luck trying to sue one of the most powerful companies in history. I wouldn't dream of this.


What are you talking about? If it's less than the local statutory limit (quick google tells me $7500 in California, likely around what this woman thinks she was owed) then you don't even need a lawyer. File a small claims suit, show up at court, and make your case before the judge.

Now, she probably wouldn't win, because there's no contract here and Google has no affirmative duty to host anyone's video in particular nor to pay them for it. But you can absolutely do it.


> But you can absolutely do it.

You can do it, but who has the resources (especially the motivation and willpower) to drag such a case through the various appeal instances, with the issue that if you do lose, you have to pay the opposite party's lawyer bills? No way in hell I'd risk loading up THAT debt risk.


Because youtube didn't employ her. She was never hired, and so can't be fired, in any sense of the word. If anyone thinks that they are working for Youtube, then they must be delusional.

Edit: I meant if anyone thinks they should depend on youtube ads for income, they are delusional.


If they actually are receiving their income from Youtube why are they delusional?


Youtube specifically states they dictate how much you will earn, and you have no negotiating power.


How does the law work in Germany? If youtube pulls ads from a German's videos, they can demand to get paid anyway?


Not if you're working on your own (though there may be a slim chance of getting damages replacements if the decision is proven to be malignant, but that's difficult as hell to do). If you are an employed creator, on the other hand, yes your employer has to pay you even if Youtube shuts down the monetization.

Exactly this safety net is what the "gig economy" tries to cut...


She was crazy. I don't think attempts to walk through her thought processes will bear fruit


Whenever something like this happens, people like to dismiss the situation by saying we can't possibly understand "crazy" people. It avoids having to consider the systemic reasons why something like this can happen.

I'd imagine a significant part of it is that we live a society where some people can have their livelihood yanked away from them, with no support structure to help them, leaving them desperate and angry.


Absolutely it makes sense. "That person shoot out random youtube employees therefore youtube should change its helpdesk" argument does not make sense. It makes as much sense as caving to any other form of terrorism.

Youtube and its employees are the victim here. Using this to put pressure on them in the "for the safety of your employees" way is incredibly distasteful.


> It makes as much sense as caving to any other form of terrorism.

Addressing the systemic reasons behind hostile actors does not mean "caving" to the actors themselves.

Should we let ISIS take over the Middle East and establish a fascist theocratic state? No, obviously not.

But that doesn't mean we shouldn't carefully consider how the past decades of violent imperialist foreign policy might have played a significant part in the conditions that allowed ISIS to rise, and use that to inform our future policy.


By this logic, systemic reason behind "lovesick" teenager shooting former girlfriend is that girls sometimes stop dating boys. Girls should think again before rejecting boys. And black churches should think again about praying, because Dylan Roof had shoot them.

Neither Austin bomber nor Parkland shooter explained why they did it, but whatever they states reasons, the objects of their hate don't necessary have responsibility to obey their wishes.

So no, the "youtube can not demonetize videos" straightforward nonsense is not an analysis of systemic reasons behind this shooting.


>So no, the "youtube can not demonetize videos" straightforward nonsense is not an analysis of systemic reasons behind this shooting.

Indeed it is not, but that would be a very shallow reading of the systemic arguments made in this thread.


Elsewhere in the thread, quite openly: "Them cutting off a person off their income without any way of appeal caused the whole chain of events in the first place."

That is extreme, sure. But I have to work hard to not interpreted milder comments that way too. The straightforward reading is pretty much that. The youtube blaming and insinuations that youtube brought it in itself were pretty much prevalent when I commented.


> Youtube and its employees are the victim here.

No. The employees are the victim. Youtube? Not at all, save for a day of missed work. Them cutting off a person off their income without any way of appeal caused the whole chain of events in the first place.


Jess christ, I can't believe people here argue that with the straight face. Do you treat other mass shooters and terrorists the same? He shot the school therefore school caused it by not giving him everything he wanted? Seriously.

By this logic, if employer in right to work state fires someone and that someone shoots the workplace, employer caused the shooting.


> Do you treat other mass shooters and terrorists the same?

Of course not. But there is, more often than not, a common background between all these cases. Recognize and fix the system and prevent more suffering. Shootings are the ultimate outlet, so if you fix the system you automatically prevent loads of more suffering.

> By this logic, if employer in right to work state fires someone and that someone shoots the workplace, employer caused the shooting.

Yes (except for the rare case where an immediate firing is warranted, such as stealing from the employer, sexual harrassment or similar).

There is no obligation to exercise the "fired on the spot". You can as a boss always behave like a decent human being and show your employees at least a fucking basic level of respect. Or you can decide "uh we dont need XYZ any more, even if he's still productive, has worked years of overtime, shown dedication and has to support a family but if I fire him I can make 10k personal bonus that year"... but then I would not be surprised if you'd end up at the wrong end of a baseball bat or worse.

By the way I would advise you to read up on how most of the workers' rights we know today in civilized areas of the planet (right to unionize, strike, illegality of "at will employment", social security systems) have been achieved: through shitloads of blood. If your state still has legal "at will employment", the state is responsible for any avoidable suffering caused by this.


Yes, and the crazy people are the ones who, when desperate and angry, try to kill 3 innocent people and then themselves.

I don't understand the equivocation here. It seems a symptom of the broad inability in modern social thinking to pin any responsibility on individuals. While this stems from our desire to root out systematic issues, which is necessary and important, it should not be the only thing we care about.

In fact, a culture of individual responsibility actually can become a deep feature of our society if we take the time to engender it.

Talking about individual responsibility is not ignoring the systematic issues in society, because a lack of focus on individual responsibility is actually rooted in our culture and hence is a systemic issue in itself.


I would argue the opposite. We already have an intense culture of "individual responsibility" in many areas of society, and that's exactly the problem.

Because a culture that seeks to blame individuals for problems makes individuals extremely reluctant to actually accept responsibility for their decisions.

Consider how the airline industry investigates after a disaster: They investigate the circumstances leading to each bad decision, and then attempt to change the process such that it cannot happen again. This leads to individuals being forthcoming about their mistakes, and implements changes that actually solve the problem. This culture of focusing on systemic issues rather than individuals has made air travel extremely safe.


>Yes, and the crazy people are the ones who, when desperate and angry, try to kill 3 innocent people and then themselves.

That was crazy, but maybe not all parts of that machine were broken. If I genuinely had millions of views on my videos that gave me an income and was suddenly cut off, I would have felt being very wrongly treated as well.


Hate to break it to you, but no one is dead outside of the shooter currently.

You might want to take some of your individual responsibility and correct your statement.


Changed it, though "trying to kill 3 people" rather than "killed 3 people" are morally equivalent.


Everyone can be crazy if pushed in just the right way.


Sorry but this is ridiculous. Someone decided that to respond to having video de-monetized on a website was justification for trying to kill people. How on earth is it reasonable to start down the path of 'well if she had talked to tech support...'

Tier 1 support is now supposed to dissuade lunatics from murdering people? Are we supposed to construct our society around making sure that nothing, nowhere could possibly lead to a lunatic getting upset at some decision that could inconvenience them?


> at some decision that could inconvenience them?

Losing one's job is not just an "inconvenience". It is an inconvenience in a country with a social safety net. In a country like the US where job loss often enough means direct loss of health insurance and a place to live, losing a job can (and will) lead to homelessness and eventual death.


Where does it say that Youtube was the sole source of this woman's income? But let's say it was. People lose their jobs all the time and don't result to violence. It makes zero sense to assign blame to Youtube for the shooting even if them de-monetizing her took away her only source of income.


> People lose their jobs all the time and don't result to violence.

Oh, enough do. There's a reason why fired people get escorted by security.


Yeah you're right, and those people who got shot probably deserved it because they were probably racists or something.


The monetization of YouTube has created a perverse set of incentives which have in turn driven noise up and signal down.

A few years ago videos were generally interesting, or at least authentic, ads were mostly uncommon for non-commercial content, and comments were a cesspool.

Today the comments are marginally better, the content is worse, and there are ads everywhere.

The focus of many creators isn't creating useful content, but tricking people into watching or playing on the notoriety of making money itself.

This unfortunate event probably wouldn't have happened if the system wasn't designed to incentivise controversial posts in the first place.


I kind of think/feel that YouTube is turning into regular TV in terms of the content that is on it, if not the delivery. There's a reason that normal TV is bland and mediocre (for the most part), and that's because it has to be inoffensive for the advertisers to put ads next to. Any sort of risque content has very low-value ads next to it, i.e. gambling and penis pills. So for YouTube to profit it has to be seen as having mostly inoffensive content, which will inevitably drive out any interesting and non-mainstream stuff, for better or worse.


If monopolies are allowed, the bigger a company is, the increased responsibility it should have. Many of large IT companies deliver free products and services, yet they still make the rules because they are in a monopoly nobody can compete with, because they give it for free.

Since it's not their data, they should have tougher restrictions the more data they handle.

It's weird because those online platform are thriving thanks to the ideal of free speech, but they are not public entities so free speech doesn't apply to them. It is very frustrating to see private interests seize the tools people use to express themselves.

As long as online data rests on private servers which are tied to lucrative interests, the internet will not be a platform where you can freely express yourself.

I have always thought that the whole online advertisement model is unhealthy and not a good system to make the internet cheaper for consumers. Ad blockers are a proof of this. If tomorrow firefox or any browser decide to not display ads and consumers go along with it, it would create a big mess.


I am off the opinion that it is precisely because of the backwards copyright policies, namely the DMCA, that YouTube ever became a monopolistic force on the internet.


I'm really surprised at how many of these HN comments are so sympathetic to this murderer's cause. To me, this illustrates how dangerous this type of reporting is, this media obsession with the perpetrators of mass shooting. This is the problem that I feel utterly powerless against. You can make more mental health programs, pass more gun control legislation, pay more for security, but what can you do when the culture around you lionizes these sorts of people?


I largely agree with you.

But, about 1% of me, can't help but note that... well, I think there's a reason for people's tendency to give the perpetrator some sympathy. The thing is, we abstract this away into things like "it's not censorship if a private organization declines to monetize the content you freely publish with them," but... let's be clear about what happens here, at the granular ground level:

1) Company creates a space for people to do work that pays their bills. This is for company's benefit as much as theirs. 2) People do that work, pay their bills. Mutual joy. 3) Company suddenly, and apparently arbitrarily, and without adequate communication, yanks people's ability to pay their bills away from them

Most people that suddenly and apparently arbitrarily go from "paying my bills" to "holy fuck not paying my bills" flip the hell out. It's like a lay-off, but even more inscrutable and un-appealable.

Whatever abstraction is laid upon this at the 10k-foot view, I think people are sympathetic to the fact that YT basically did a really shitty thing to a lot of people (or maybe did a totally not shitty thing in a really shitty way). And, if you do something really shitty to a large number of people, yeah, you run the risk of having done something really shitty to a nutjob. The nutjob isn't a black swan, though: they're an extreme version of the response that a lot of people are having.

So, yes, "organization that did really shitty thing to a lot of people accidentally included violent nutjob on list of shit-receivers," doesn't really merit any lionization of the nutjob, but it's hard to ignore the "really shitty thing" aspect of it. Because it's not a black swan - it's just a (much more) extreme version of the same feelings we'd have if we were in their shoes.


> The nutjob isn't a black swan, though: they're an extreme version of the response that a lot of people are having.

I appreciate you laying out your thoughts, but I vehemently disagree with this idea. Like all terrorists, the shooter's actions were grossly disproportionate to their cause. A lot of people were affected by Youtube demonetization, but only one of them chose to perpetrate a violent act in response to it. That's the very definition of a black swan.

The thesis if my main comment is that media coverage that focuses on these shooters (a) makes it seem more common, and (b) legitimizes either their actions or their cause, which causes (c) more people to perpetrate mass shootings in the future.

I'm not saying that Youtube handles demonetization in the best way possible. I'm saying that taking a gun to the problem is completely off the wall, and that this sort of media coverage just adds fuel to the fire. And that the media coverage is just a mirror to the values of our society. And that I'm frustrated by this sort of reaction, and don't have any recourse other than to point out that there's another way to react.


This is basically how I see it, and it's probably going to be worse the more we get into whatever this "gig job" world we are entering is. Uber reduces payouts to enough drivers, or goes all in on self-driving cars? One of them is probably going to be an extremely unwell gun-owner that's suddenly broke and hopeless. This is part of humanity that can't be explained away with "You should have known it wasn't a REAL job (but please make content for us / drive for us anyway)!"


probably shows how concerned people are getting about the monopoly power a tiny number of companies.


I’ve been getting increasingly more annoyed by the entitlement some YouTube creators have shown towards Adsense dollars. And I’m perplexed at some of the comments on this story (“YouTube was her main source of income”). Yeah, she hedged her bet and put all her content on a platform she didn’t own or control, then thought it’d be a good idea to be financially dependent on them facilitating ad deals for her. Many of ya favorite youtubers complain about demonetization - I get it sucks and cuts out cashflow they were expecting but they’re not entitled to money from advertisers. This is like me demanding Facebook pay me for allowing me to put up a profile and running ads in my friends’ newsfeeds. That’s not how the real world works, kiddo. I think way back when YouTube opened up their “partner” program - that was their big mistake. It allowed far too many people to start viewing Adsense $ as earned income.


No sane person would argue that what she did was okay.

With that disclaimer, I can't help but feel sorry for her. In the unregulated gig/"creator" economy, someone's entire career - not just their livelihood but their life's work - can be wiped out in an instant. In her case it doesn't even sound like it was intentional. An algorithmic blip. That kind of hopeless, pointless loss would make anybody's mental health take a nosedive.

It's time the government stops treating the tech giants as neutral, private platforms, and acknowledges how big the pieces of society are which they underpin.


Explain what you mean by your last sentence.


I'm no expert in these matters so I'm not very qualified to give specifics, but roughly:

1) Something modelled after employment regulation to protect people whose full-time income comes from these platforms. There are tons of rules designed to protect employees which services like YouTube and Uber have been dodging (and actively fighting) for years.

2) Something like common-carrier status to protect the users of the most critical platforms (Google search, Facebook, etc.).


Regulation comes in when it's necessary to acknowledge, as a society, that the natural forces at play (from the market or otherwise) in some context aren't enough to guard against sufficiently large risks to society's members or ability to function. It has less to do with the nature of the thing being regulated and more to do with the impact it has/can have on society.

With that perspective in mind, these platforms have (intentionally) maneuvered themselves into a position where millions or billions of people depend on them for some combination of livelihood and/or basic connection with the world around them. That is what makes them good candidates for regulation.


I can't help but think of of the Tunisian guy who was trying to eke out a living, faced his own Arbitrary Machine (the state in this case) and lost, getting de-monetized. Then set himself on fire, more or less starting the "Arab Spring."

If you never read of the Tunisian man, from wiki:

> Twenty-six-year-old Mohamed Bouazizi had been the sole income earner in his extended family of eight. He operated a vegetable or apple cart (the contents of the cart are disputed) for seven years in Sidi Bouzid 190 miles (300 km) south of Tunis. On 17 December 2010, a female officer confiscated his cart and produce. Bouazizi, who had had such an event happen to him before, tried to pay the 10-dinar fine (a day's wages, equivalent to 7USD). In response the policewoman insulted his deceased father and slapped him. The officer, Faida Hamdi, stated that she was not even a policewoman, but a city employee who had been tasked that morning with confiscating produce from vendors without licenses. When she tried to do so with Bouazizi a scuffle ensued. Hamdi says she called the police who then beat Bouazizi.[35] A humiliated Bouazizi then went to the provincial headquarters in an attempt to complain to local municipality officials and to have his produce returned. He was refused an audience. Without alerting his family, at 11:30 am and within an hour of the initial confrontation, Bouazizi returned to the headquarters, doused himself with a flammable liquid and set himself on fire.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tunisian_Revolution#Mohamed_Bo...

They are obviously not the same, and the Mohamed didn't attack other people, but as people earn a monetary (or just a social) living on more arbitrary platforms, they are conjoining their own fates to these platforms, for better or worse.

If you ask Fukuyama, Niall Ferguson, or many historians how to build a non-dysfunctional state, they will tell you that rule of law and property rights matter. Systems that can easily and arbitrarily take away one's living (monetary or social) are not good for society.


Self-immolation is nowhere near in the same ballpark as taking a gun into an office and murdering a bunch of people.

I really don't like the parent article's line of thinking of explaining or justifying this person's act. There are plenty of ways of protesting that don't involve hurting others. And it's mind-boggling that we have to point that out at all today.


Methods of suicide are strongly culturally determined I believe.

It wouldn't be entirely surprising if the impulse that expressed itself via self-immolation in one cultural context did so via mass shooting culminating in 'suicide-by-cop' in another one (vis, the United States.)


I can't tell if you're serious.

One of those 'systems' is governmental corruption, the other is Youtube; the comparison makes absolutely no sense. Youtube is a private company, not a corrupt government. If you're living in the states and trying to "eek out a living" and Youtube steals your proverbial "apple cart", too bad, so sad, go get a different job - they don't exist as a platform to ensure people get paid, people getting paid is a side effect of them existing. If it doesn't work for you, find other work.

To compare them indicates a level of myopia and entitlement that is profoundly distressing.


You could argue that since Youtube has created a public forum for others to work in, they should be held to different standards than a regular private company. I.e. Youtube should be regulated as infrastructure and thus can not longer unilaterally changes rules or make judgements based on those rules.


You can't be serious.

Youtube is not infrastructure; if you don't like their policies, use a different service. Start a competitor. You pay the server time.


> Youtube is not infrastructure;

At this point it should be to hard to argue that YouTube is infrastructure.

Same as railway tracks, same as water pipes.

You might lay your own but most societies have made rules to make sure we don't need that and can instead use the exiting tracks and pipes.

That might soon happen to YouTube and others if they aren't careful.


> You can't be serious

Watch me.

> use a different service

What service is there for video creators that has a similar reach? In terms of short internet video, Youtube is a de facto monopoly. Moving to other platforms means giving up basically your entire viewership. Realistically, there is currently no "different service".

> Start a competitor

Now, it's up to me to say "you can't be serious". That's not really an option for somebody who makes a living with videos.


Then get a real job. It isn't YouTube's job to support every dipshit with a camera.


I don't know how to get this discussion back on a productive track. I never said it was Youtube's job to support everyone with a camera, nor do I publish content on Youtube. I simply would like to have a discussion about the effects of these powerful monopolies and how we, as a society, should deal with them.


It's very interesting to me that the shooter was basically a disgruntled user who complained that the platform discriminated against her and filtered her content.

I think this and Cambridge Analytica means that we're finally entering an era in which the public is conscientious of the fact that the massive power wielded by "big data" platforms, combined with the lack of transparency, has tangible adverse effects.

Hopefully this paves the way for more transparent (and beneficent) visibility into how such data is consumed and used, possibly by using public utility-like regulation [1][2].

[1] https://datasociety.net/events/databite-no-105-k-sabeel-rahm...

[2] https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2986387


> "The night before Nasim Aghdam opened fire in a courtyard at YouTube's headquarters Tuesday afternoon, Mountain View police found the San Diego woman sleeping in her car. She had been reported missing by her family in Southern California, and her father Ismail Aghdam told police she might be going to YouTube because she 'hated' the company. Police called the family at 2 a.m. Tuesday to say she'd been found and that everything was 'under control,' her father said."

The most noteworthy part of the article to me, granted that this excerpt is taken from a different San Jose news source.

Could this have been prevented? Should the father's comments have been enough reasonable suspicion to arrest her, or at least search her for firearms and confiscate them, given her threat level to society?

Edit: The replies do offer good points, so thank you! I'm personally a supporter of the Second Amendment as well; it's just heartbreaking, especially if any of the victims die, to know just how close we were to stopping it.


Should the father's comments have been enough reasonable suspicion to arrest her, or at least search her for firearms and confiscate them, given her threat level to society?

Not from the information in this article. That would mean any adult who gets upset, and goes on a roadtrip without telling their family, could get arrested. If the missing persons report noted that she could be dangerous, then that's a different story.


Lone wolf crazies are the hardest to protect against as an open society. Say she was arrested and her gun confiscated. Nothing actually happened, so she'd be out on the street two days later and could go and buy another gun for a retry.


A mentally ill relative of mine in another state (us citizens here) threatened “to shoot” me in an email and asserted he had a gun. I contacted law enforcement in his area and they picked him up and based on his behavior and statements he was put in a 72 hour psych hold.

During this, the police and mental health workers were able to convince him to give up his gun.

This was about 6 years ago and as far as anyone knows, he hasn’t re-armed himself.

I guess my point: If you have a gun, you may feel justified in using it to solve your problems with violence (suicide or other). If you don’t have a gun, the friction of acquiring one could be sufficient to deter you from trying to get one.


That's about the best possible outcome.

Unfortunately there are also plenty of counter examples where law enforcement was alerted and nothing happened.


> go and buy another gun

Presumably having the first gun confiscated would prevent that in the background check.


She would not necessarily have to buy the second gun legally. There are 100's of millions of guns floating around, getting one is easy.

I wonder how long she had this gun and where it came from.


Sounds like you're doing a little monday morning quarterbacking here. Neither of us heard the dad's tone or saw his body language, so neither of us knows just how strongly he was communicating "she's going to Youtube because she hates them."

But, if we are to judge on the words alone, nothing in that phrasing says "mass shooting in the offing." Most people who go to the offices of a company they have a grievance with are going there to complain or raise a ruckus, not start shooting folks. As evidenced by, you know, the extremely anomalous nature of this shooting.

("extremely anomalous" as in "mass shooting of a corporation you're unhappy with", not just "mass shooting," because those are a popular pastime in the US.)


I think the only thing that could have been done differently is to ask the police to search her for potential firearms but then you have to wonder if they're legal or not and if they'd have the right to confiscate them.


If you start threatening people with your weapons, you should have them confiscated, or rather more likely to have them confiscated. This is one of the few instances where this could have been completely prevented.


To be fair, it is bullshit that they demonetized peoples accounts without paying them out.

Most small YouTubers that monetized their accounts have no other revenue streams with adSense. So when YouTube cancelled their YouTube Partner Program these people wound up with stagnant adSense accounts that were probably below the payout threshold. I tried in vain to get YT to pay out my adSense account because there would be no way for me to ever hit the payout threshold. I tried to explain that there is no difference between holding my money in escrow forever and stealing my money, but the YT reps (who were very unhelpful when I asked for resources to cancel YT Red) largely blew me off and insisted that the money was mine without recognizing that they would never let it out of their possession.

It really was a sly trick and not at all in keeping with the "Don't be evil" mantra.


'De-Monetized' suggests that someone who produces a video has an automatic right to income. That's bonkers, it's already quite a service that Youtube allows you to upload your videos to reach an audience that you'd be hard pressed to serve from your own server. They do this for free. In the previous iteration of such platforms all the ad income would go to the owner of the website, not to the rights owners of the videos.

The company then decided to cut the producers of the content in on the advertising income. Some of those have apparently taken this to mean that they have an inalienable right to this income, to the point where they will take out their entitlement complexes on the employees of the company.

The terms of service are pretty clear about all this too.

If you want control over your content and you want to get all the advertising income associated with your content set up your own bloody server and leave youtube and it's employees alone.

On another note: I hate fanatics, no matter of what plumage.

Edit: And I hate their apologists as well.


I don't think this kind of reaction is about philosophical "right" to an income from a particular company, more about sudden changes. It's similar to being fired: you previously got an income from this company, then they decided not to give you an income. Some people get angry at that, and sometimes feel desperate, worried about ending up homeless etc. depending on how much they relied on this income and what kinds of safety nets they have access to. Which is all true even if the company was within its rights to fire you. Of course most people who get angry about being laid off don't shoot anyone, but it's unfortunately not really a new story in the US (Google for something like, [laid off employee shooting], and there's dozens of hits).


The problem is - and this goes for all the apologists for this person in this thread - that having your stuff on Youtube isn't a thing you should count on. If you run a small business and you make that business entirely dependent on a third party you are inherently setting yourself up for failure.

Whether it is Youtube, Facebook, Twitch, Medium or any other user generated content site you give up control the moment you start using them and you are essentially working for whatever crumbs they decide to throw your way.

Being fired in many countries actually does come with a whole pile of assurances about your continued income, but it is ridiculous to compare the situation of a content producer on a free platform with the one of a salaried employee.

And to take that anger out on the employees of Youtube is utterly ridiculous, if you feel that there is some form of breach of contract then the courts would be your avenue to seek redress.


Calling the critics of YouTube's whims 'apologists for the shooter' even in the context of this thread is a dirty rhetorical trick. Nobody is saying the shooter was justified.


[flagged]


As long as you maintain that the argument is about whether violence is an appropriate or in any way justified response to YouTube's conduct, you're arguing against a strawman. Again, nobody is saying that, and they aren't really implying it either, unless you believe that any statement that weakens a good case must be false or regarded as support for the opposing case - again, more of a rhetorical concern than a concern about what is true.


>>As long as you maintain that the argument is about whether violence is an appropriate

He clearly mentioned that YouTube is already doing great service to people by hosting their videos, providing serving infrastructure and content discoverability.

The fact that people seem to be, to the extent, expect YouTube to pay them, instead of being thankful to all the free stuff YT provides itself feels wrong here.


> There are people here who write that "It was only a matter of time until one of those furious victims took up a gun to get revenge." and that's well into apologist territory.

Are they wrong? It's only a matter of time until lots of bad things happen. Still bad, still going to happen.


Yes they are wrong. "Victims"? The only victims in this story were the people that she shot.


The only person in this thread who used the word "victims" was you.

This is a Burning-man-sized strawman.



Right, sorry, I missed that.

In any case, using loaded language doesn't change the validity of the argument.


>that's well into apologist territory

No, no it's not.


I don't think the previous poster is being an apologist, but just pointing out that sudden changes in income can trigger people. My wife lost her shit when one fine morning she was laid off without any prior warning. 99% of people don't act out, but 1% do.


I want to see what the reaction here would look like if instead AWS we dropping a bunch of customers with no warning.


You said the magic word: customers. People uploading videos to YouTube aren't customers and don't generally have a contract guaranteeing that they'll receive anything – ad revenue or even the ability to continue uploading.

Even AWS customers who don't have a contract (like reserved instances or an Enterprise Agreement) may not have any claim to receive ongoing service.


Hopefully it would simply mean more customers for other hosting centers. If you feel that people should take up arms against AWS employees in that case then you have other problems.

Business disputes are as old as businesses and we have ways to resolve those disputes: the courts.

And be sure to read the fine print of any service or company that you are going to do business with if your business will be dependent on that other party. Avoid such dependencies as much as possible.

So yes, signing up with AWS is a calculated risk. You should know the possible downsides of that decision, and you should be aware of your position, rights and obligations as well as the terms of service.


Migrating off of AWS is a difficult, drawn-out process which can take months, if you've got a lot of stuff there or are using a lot of AWS-specific features. That's part of why I chose that example. A lot of businesses a lot of people here work for would be in quite difficult straits if that happened.


... but the fact remains: AWS is a service provided by a private corporation, not the government. There's no requirement or mandate in criminal law that it exist or continue to function. It could be dropped without warning at any time, and the only recourse customers would have is whatever contracts provide for them. This isn't something Amazon would do, because "Leaving millions of dollars of revenue on the table" isn't in their best interest. But if it ever becomes in their best interest? Nothing but civil contracts stopping them.

Most of society actually works like this, and we somehow manage to muddle through without shooting each other most of the time.


Well, again, I'm not advocating murder. But cris de coueur about changes to services like AWS or the App Store get plenty of upvotes and attention here, while the attitude toward people trying to make a living off of YouTube is different. Why?


> if you've got a lot of stuff there or are using a lot of AWS-specific features.

If you allow yourself to be locked in to your hosting provider you are doing it wrong.

AWS is very clever about this but it is still your decision on whether or not you allow yourself to be suckered in. I point this out with some regularity to the companies I look at.


The courts are for rich people. Suing a major corporation is all but hopeless.

Practically, when you have a business dispute with a major corporation, your only option is to give up.


I've sued several very large corporations over the last 30 years and have to this date come out the winner in each and every case. Yes it cost some money but the pay-off was substantially higher than the money invested in the court case. And no, we were not rich by any definition.

In Europe the courts are still accessible for companies that do not have millions of $.


This story doesn't take place in Europe.


It couldn't take place in Europe.


I know little about European courts, so I'll just take you at your word. I'm not sure how this observation is relevant to the discussion.


Most of Europe has reasonably strict gun laws and it would be hard to get a gun in the first place.


Again, it seems like a non sequitur, if the discussion is about YouTube monetization policies.



Then other customers would be worried and might decide to move away? That's the key difference here, you're paying for AWS, you're not paying for Youtube. On top of that if you find that Youtube doesn't pay you enough then... Well, there's not much you can do since you'll probably earn even less on other platforms.

AWS on the other hand has plenty of competition, as long as you don't willingly lock yourself into their platform you'll be fine.


That would suck for many people, but would totally be in their right. Again - how are people confused about this. If AWS drops you as a customer use an alternative. Moreover, these people's videos are still hosted on YouTube's servers.


One distinction is that AWS has major competitors you could switch to, but YouTube essentially has a monopoly on that kind of content distribution.


Youtube does not have a monopoly at all. What Youtube has a monopoly on is that your content will get a lot of eyeballs that you don't actually have to do much work for.

It's a mall with a large number of people flowing through it rather than just a content distribution engine.


Another is that AWS customers tend to be businesses with full-time workers and not one person trying to eke out a living.


No the true reaction one should measure is by asking how one should react, if you put anything on the free tier usage of AWS S3, like say a video or a book and then expect Amazon to pay you for it.


I don't think this woman went through a rational process of "deciding" that she was upset with YouTube because they are alleged to have cut off the income on her videos.

She snapped, identified the target of her rage, and took violent revenge.


She did not take revenge on Youtube, she took out her (unjustified) murderous rage on employees of Youtube. People who are even more dependent on Youtube than she ever was.


As I said in a different subthread, YouTube is in no way responsible for the actions Ms. Nasim took.

However, it could be helpful to understand Ms. Nasim's motivations insofar as they stem from losing a source of revenue to which she had no entitlement.

To that end, our collective social good might be promoted by platform owners like YouTube giving content-generators greater say over the monetization of their content.

This is not an apology and I accord no blame for Ms. Nasim's actions to YouTube. Mine is just a suggestion that Ms. Nasim had an unjustified grievance which might have been alleviated by giving more agency to the content-generators upon whom platforms such as YouTube depend.

EDIT: add "insofar"


I wasn't even looking at a particular solution when I posted this. Maybe YouTube should change something, maybe the social safety net should change, maybe gun laws should change. Lots of options. I just am skeptical that, compared to those options or maybe even others, repeating to people that they have no legally cognizant reliance interests on income that is not contractually guaranteed is a promising way out. I mean, yes, true, but some big billboards proclaiming that is not going to solve the problem.


I think we lack evidence that Ms. Nasim's shooting rampage would have been stopped by YouTube changing their policy. Possilby this shooting rampage, but we don't at present have enough evidence to hypothesize that something wouldn't have set her off. She had a lot of anger directed at a lot of targets.


> Being fired in many countries actually does come with a whole pile of assurances about your continued income

What insurances that are not part of earning nothing from youtube?

> And to take that anger out on the employees of Youtube is utterly ridiculous

So? The same is true for any sort of anger from between partners to countries. Even if someone has been laid off. If a person can literally shoot someone, then this advice won't have the ears.


And over time, our economic model is to squeeze more and more profit out of a service. The downside of receiving an income from Youtube, as a subcontractor of Youtube, is that they'll want to make more money from you...or the next person to come along to create content for slightly less money.


> having your stuff on Youtube isn't a thing you should count on

Sure, and having an at-will employment contract, which is what almost all YC companies offer, isn't something you should count on either. So I fail to comprehend your attempt to distinguish.


An employer does not provide a service for their employees, it's the other way around. Youtube provides a service to its users. That you can get paid for that is optional, that the service even functions is optional.

So the service-provider service-consumer relationship is inverted.


Well, that's at least not the relationship that YouTube claims between itself and the content providers that it has chosen to hire commercially. YouTube's official position is that it has retained them as independent contractors and paid them in a manner reportable on a 1099 because they provide a bona-fide service to the company. YouTube files legal documents both to the IRS and to their shareholders that claim this under penalty of perjury.


Mark Ames wrote a whole book (which I admit I didn't quite finish) with the thesis that you could tie the rise of workplace shootings to an increase in worker precarity.


Is Going Postal: Rage, Murder, and Rebellion: From Reagan's Workplaces to Clinton's Columbine and Beyond the book you were thinking of?

(Thanks for the recommendation in any case.)

[0] https://www.amazon.com/Going-Postal-Rebellion-Workplaces-Col...


Yes.


> you could tie the rise of workplace shootings to an increase in worker precarity.

Funny, outside of the US even in countries with high unemployment nobody goes around and shoots anyone.


That's a complicated question, and I suspect it has a lot of dimensions.

I can't speak for the culture of other countries, but Americans have a deep-seated sense of worth tied to profession. Having your livelihood stripped raises existential questions about whether you have any value as an American (to understand this phenomenon better, it may be worth also comparing suicide rates in the US after a job loss to suicide rates in other cultures in similar situations).

... but in addition, the US has a pretty deep-seated cultural mythos that when your worth is taken by someone, you take it back, using violence if necessary. Witness the Revolutionary War and the recent phenomenon of a conservative political group naming itself after an economic rebellion against the East India Company.


More importantly, in many places in the USA, what would be medium inconveniences in other countries (illness, company folding) can quickly and easily destroy a life.


Which countries do you have in mind here? Is it not the case that most of them have either less access to guns or better social programs for the unemployed (or both)?


> Which is all true even if the company was within its rights to fire you.

What point are you trying to make then? People get angry because they feel it's unfair, so...?


It's not similar to being fired. [REDACTED: It's similar to a store owner allowing you to panhandle outside their business, and then later telling you you can't panhandle there anymore (but loiter all you want!).] It is not reasonable for adults to look at internet ad revenue as a reliable source of income. It's unfortunate if/when they fall on hard times because they made the mistake of relying on something so volatile. I really wish people this confused on the issue would google (heh) AdWords certification study guide and "Google Penguin"/"Google Panda"/"Google Hummingbird"/etc.

EDIT: many people are upset by the panhandling comparison. I just meant that as a juxtaposition to those saying "it's like being fired". It was meant as an analogy - no intent to insult anyone (YouTubers and beggars alike). A better analogy would be a musician who was paid to perform in a bar, and the bar owner tells them "you can still play here all you want, but we're no longer going to pay you." (mind you - they are not saying "you have to continue playing here and do it for free")


Youtube is a valuable platform in no small part due to content creators, and they recognize that, which is why they have a revenue sharing program to begin with. It's disingenuous to compare those content creators to panhandlers.

I agree that they should realize it's a volatile system and prepare for downswings, but that doesn't make them beggars.


I didn't call them beggars - I was only meaning to call out the comparison to employees. Sorry for the confusion. I've edited the original comment.


As we slide more and more towards a "gig economy", not only can we underpay people, but we can also tell them they don't even have a "real job". Someone producing content for YouTube or driving for Lyft is a beggar? Get real.


Lyft drivers are independent contractors. In my opinion they (and Favor deliverers, etc.) should be categorized as employees instead and should receive benefits. Uploading content to YouTube is not the same thing. I'm not meaning to say anyone's a beggar. But YouTubers just don't have an employer-employee relationship with YouTube. That's just a fact. This woman was not a YouTube employee, the people she targeted were.


I am not sure what the employment status of the attacker or the victims has to do with your post, other than being a dig at the "obviously stupid people who think they can make money on Youtube". Let's also call out all the obviously stupid people who think they can make money from a startup.

There are many popular creators on YouTube earning an honest full-time living from the YouTube platform, some even have more lucrative relationships with YouTube(e.g. Slo Mo Guys, Vsauce). It's hyperbole to compare them to beggars on the street. Is that income absolutely secure? No, but that seems to kinda be the trend we're heading towards, where fewer jobs provide income security. Should YouTube be more open and transparent about demonetizing content? Yes, especially considering their effective monopoly on the indie video-on-demand scene, and parent Google's effective monopoly on internet ads.


All of my comments have been about the shooter's relationship to YouTube as a company, so that's why I brought up employment status. I was literally replying to the comparison to "someone getting fired from their job".

I'm not trying to make a dig at anyone - I'm describing reality and it's upsetting a lot of people who feel entitled to ad revenue. I honestly hope YouTube just does away with their partner program altogether.

As for YouTube careers - I couldn't agree more that many creators are full-time and put their time and energy into making content. The Slo Mo Guys, VSauce, etc are all making money outside of Adsense. They've done what Philip Defranco often tells people to do - diversify where you're getting your money from.

My whole point is that being a YouTube creator or a blogger is a perfectly fine profession - but that requires work to monetize your product and/or direct support from your subscribers/readers.

I am a huge proponent of users in general creating and participating in services that truly meet our needs and wants rather than going all in and hitching ourselves to a multinational corporation that has advertisers and board members to please.

I honestly think we're on the same side of this argument. I just don't think the answer is in expecting YouTube to take care of us.

I know a lot of people want to nationalize YouTube/Google, but unless/until that happens (and unless/until their IP becomes free & open source), we cannot count on them.


Well, it's not exactly panhandling, but more like a venue providing free spaces for artists. The venue is funded through advertissement and some of this money is given to the artists, taking into account the number of people looking at them. Because in that case, there's a content produced, which is used to bring people to the venue.

But I agree on the rest of your point, relying on advertising and third-party services is unreasonable.


Ah - I just saw this. Sorry I totally copied your comparison without meaning to. Thanks for getting what I meant despite my poor analogy.


You totaly can copy and improve my comparison, no harm done. You're welcome.


I'm not going to defend shooting anyone, obviously. But YouTube has captured the entire market, practically, for streaming video, and encouraged people to look at it as a way of making money (even a full-time time job, for many). Why would you be surprised that someone would be upset about a capricious decision, which cannot be appealed, suddenly taking away the money?


I'm not surprised. While I love YouTube, most of the YouTube personalitys seem to be emotionally unhealthy and making videos for people drawn to that sort of psychic disorder.


> YouTube personalitys seem to be emotionally unhealthy

youtube was a platform for which people with issues could still produce an income, gain an audience, and be part of a social group (even if it was just subscribers and comments).

During the great boom era of youtube, it certainly helped lots of depressed and down on their luck people that had a creative spark. It's not that youtube draws them, but that they are desperate enough, and youtube was a good opportunity.

Now youtube becoming more mainstream means that those opportunities that it used to afford to socially awkward and/or depressed people no longer exists. It's a sad outcome imho.


I must be watching a different set of videos. There's a ton of great content on YT that's not this. Then again, I mostly follow engineering, tradesmen, IT, car enthusiast, and gaming focused stuff.


> I'm not going to defend shooting anyone, obviously.

And then you proceed to defend that anyway.

Any webserver will be happy to serve up .mp4 content. There are free players (JWPlayer for instance) and you are entirely free to serve up whatever you want from your own hosted service.

That capricious decision can be appealed, you can take Youtube to court if you feel they have wronged you.

> Why would you be surprised that someone would be upset about a capricious decision, which cannot be appealed, suddenly taking away the money?

Because it never was theirs in the first place. The contract which you engage in when you sign up with Youtube or any other user created content service is pretty clear in that respect: the service can be withheld at the discretion of the company. If you can't live with those terms don't host your content there.


Well, no, I don't think recognizing the validity of someone's grievance means you necessarily have to also support a mass shooting as a way of redressing said grievance.


And what valid grievance would that be?


I guess you have short-term amnesia, because I just explained why I think the grievance is valid in the post you replied to.


Without addressing any of the actual arguments..

>Any webserver will be happy to serve up .mp4 content. There are free players (JWPlayer for instance) and you are entirely free to serve up whatever you want from your own hosted service.

This echos the classic dropbox comment, "you can just do it yourself". A layperson isn't going to.

>That capricious decision can be appealed, you can take Youtube to court if you feel they have wronged you.

You can sue whoever you want, but you will lose due to lack of resources.

> Because it never was theirs in the first place

As the facebook controversies have show, people have a remarkably bad time using common sense and making rational decisions on the internet, so while you are totally correct, its silly to assume people think that way.


As the facebook controversies have show, people have a remarkably bad time using common sense

I think the problem is that people are using "common sense", but depending on your background "common sense" can lead you to dramatically different places.


> This echos the classic dropbox comment, "you can just do it yourself". A layperson isn't going to.

Then you will have to live with being dependent on the whims of another entity. Which means you give up a lot of your freedoms.

> As the facebook controversies have show, people have a remarkably bad time using common sense and making rational decisions on the internet

This wasn't 'on the internet', this was about as IRL as it gets.


> Then you will have to live with being dependent on the whims of another entity. Which means you give up a lot of your freedoms.

That's the state of the vast majority of the population, who lack the system administration and/or development skills to "do it themselves."

Chiding them for not "doing it themselves" is akin to chiding someone upset about their medical bills for not reading to become their own doctor.


In a society you can’t live without depending on another entity, person or corporation.

We don’t have time for everything, at some point we have to outsorce work.

Did you write the OS used to start up your browser/app to type this comment?

Just because we agreed to depend on others doesn’t mean they can shit on us.


> Did you write the OS used to start up your browser/app to type this comment?

Funny, I did actually write an OS, and no it is not the one on my computer but the one that is on my computer is open source and I know I can rely on it for ever because I have that source and know how to use a compiler.

Yes, that's a conscious decision.


It is not the right place to discuss this issue in the context of this shooting, and I accept if I am downvoted for it, but since you answered in general, I'd like to point out that I generally disagree.

In my point of view, it can be reasonable and morally justified to subject companies that manage to obtain a quasi-monopoly on some form of information distribution to rules that go beyond of what is required for a company merely by law, or even to adjust the law in order to better protect those companies' users.

I would consider it fair and reasonable, for instance, to demand of Facebook, Youtube, and similar platforms (incl. app stores with quasi-monopoly status on a given platform) to be fair, to not manipulate content in favour of the company's political ambitions, in favour of obviously immoral or of decidedly anti-democratic agendas. I also think it is fair and reasonable to expect these companies to remove dangerous, illegal, or decidedly anti-democratic content, to remove radical propaganda, and so on, within reasonable limits. And it is also reasonable and fair to expect or even regulate these companies to adequately compensate content-providers, since they de facto act as their publishers, make money of this content, and have besaid quasi-monopoly. I also think that companies that hold some quasi-monopoly over some information channel should be held to higher standards than those for which there are many viable alternatives, since the former are closer to being utilities. (What constitutes a quasi-monopoly or enough of a monopoly is, of course, another, quite debatable question.)

Obviously, none of this justifies any kind of violence, and the shooter was deranged and most likely wrong about her perceptions of her supposedly unfair treatment. But I couldn't let your statement stand on its own, since I believe it to be wrong in general. This is a debatable standpoint, of course, but there should be a debate. To give another example, I really don't think that Google should be allowed to skew their search results as they see fit, e.g. to influence elections in various countries, just because they are a private company and using Google search is free.


Are you seriously framing the discussion as "people who think ill of Youtube's monetization scheme are shooter apologists"? I didn't think so reading this comment but you seem to imply than in all your replies in this thread. That's such a ridiculous strawman that I don't even know where to begin.

That being said I agree with your non-crazy point about how video uploaders shouldn't feel entitled to a share of the cake in the first place. If your business model is entirely based on some multinational corporation giving you scraps of their ad revenue then you better have a backup plan ready. Unfortunately the people who do that seem to be very young and probably don't plan that far ahead.


> Are you seriously framing the discussion as "people who think ill of Youtube's monetization scheme are shooter apologists"?

No, but there are such 'shooter apologists' in this thread.

Read the whole of it, at least one person writes that they feel that it was only a matter of time before someone brought a gun to a dispute like this.


That is not apologism, that's realpolitik. It doesn't mean the deed is acceptable, but that people in power should've anticipated it.


I don't think 'entitled people will come and shoot at our employees' is something that any normal business should have to plan for.


I don't think anyone thinks that.


And that's the point. Youtube is an extraordinary business with an utter monopoly.


Youtube doesn't really have a monopoly on the business of serving video. What they do have a monopoly on is the ability to get 100's of thousands of people to be directed to your video even if you yourself only do a fraction of the work required. This combination of technology and the audience is what makes Youtube so powerful.

But if you are claiming ownership of revenues then you are indirectly claiming ownership of that audience and this is a giant mistake. After all, hosting some video is trivial, getting that audience to your self hosted content is the hard part.

So if you take part in an ecosystem like that then you will have to (1) abide by the rules and (2) take into account that you serve at the pleasure of others. Failure to do so is going to result in a rude reminder of what your position really is: one of dependence.


So they have a monopoly and are in a not-normal situation, and should've planned for this type of situation.

Thank you for agreeing.


Why do you feel that they should have planned for this type of situation?

You can't plan for 'crazy'.


A big problem with automatic demonetization is that what frequently happens is that (let's assume that you are a popular Youtuber):

You spend a lot of time and money to make a video.

You upload it to youtube.

It trips some random check and is flagged and de-monetized, you appeal.

People come and watch your video, with this type of content the vast majority of views is in the few first days since publishing.

Your appeal finally gets through, you can now monetize the video. However it is too late because 80% of the views the video will ever have have been without ads.

You are not entitled to revenue, however if you make your living off Youtube, you may expect that it will not randomly shoot you in the foot for no reason.


> It trips some random check and is flagged and de-monetized

this is the problem i think a lot of youtubers have. If only youtube can clearly say what they are checking or set guidelines for monetizations to follow. Of course, the issue they must have is that guidelines are often skirted around - youtubers (and internet in general) is known for attempting to edge towards the limits...


At least one possibility would be to add a possibility to pass the checks before releasing the video.


> pass the checks before releasing the video.

unless you're restricted in how many times you're allowed to check the video, this will just become the same game-able system. There isn't a good way tbh - i think a free-for-all (ala, streamable!) is the best democratic option.


That is true. The push to de-monetise controversial videos comes from the advertisers rather than google though.


[flagged]


I don't think he was defending the shooting but rather the fact that many so-called "pro" Youtubers feel like they're getting shafted.

I think you built a strawman that makes it harder to discuss because you seem to equate "being unhappy with Youtube's monetization scheme" with supporting that shooter which is obviously inane. I doubt anybody here is saying that you should go shoot Google HQ if you're unhappy with their ToS.

For the record I don't think people complaining about Youtube's monetization are right anyway, begging a tech giant for lunch money is not a viable business model. If you think you ought to be paid for your content then you should try to work together with other content producers to create your own platform where you get the share of the profit you deem fair. You need Youtube more than they need you.


There is no such thing as a 'pro Youtuber'.

That's about as silly as being a 'pro Mediumer'. There is such a thing as a professional blogger but they treat the thing as an actual business: with as much control over hosting and content delivery as they can get.

The moment you use a third party service as the key component of your business you lose your 'pro' status.


>The moment you use a third party service as the key component of your business you lose your 'pro' status.

That's ridiculous on any number of levels. Are Pro hockey players not pro because they don't own their teams? Are salespeople not professional because they use SFDC as SaaS instead of their own handcrafted CRM? Hell, are devs not pros if they use GitHub, AWS, or GCP?


> That's ridiculous on any number of levels.

Yes, if you draw it wider than I intended to it is. After all I clearly meant within the context of creating and delivering content to an audience. If that is your business you operate at the whims of the owners of the network.

> Are Pro hockey players not pro because they don't own their teams?

I never really got 'professional sports' so I'm not going to be the right person to comment on that. To me a sport is something to be enjoyed, not something to be made into a profession though it is clear that lots of people do just that. Even so, they are not - to me - as much of a professional as say a car mechanic, a musician or a computer programmer would be. If professional sports would disappear tomorrow I wouldn't miss it, but I totally realize I'm in the minority here.

> Are salespeople not professional because they use SFDC as SaaS instead of their own handcrafted CRM?

They would be unprofessional if they did not plan for outages, being kicked off the service and potential bankruptcies of the SaaS providers. Or at least, the organization they are part of would not be professional.

> Hell, are devs not pros if they use GitHub, AWS, or GCP?

If they make themselves totally dependent on any of those, then yes, they are not pros.

A real business should do the best it can to be an independent entity and should only enter into dependencies after well reasoned out weighing of pros and cons and backup services and options where possible.

Otherwise you will find that that business will sooner or later crash due to some outside influence.

Now obviously there are some risks that you can not protect against: wars, 'acts of god' (a cop-out to mean anything we can imagine that's out of scope), wholesale market downturn and so on. But a simple account termination should not be able to kill a healthy business.


> If you treat your Youtube presence as a business you are doing it wrong to begin with

Why? If you are aware of the risks, have alternate monetization scheme, back-ups and mirrors of your videos, what's the problem of relying on a company who can distribute videos way better than what one person can do?


That's a responsible attitude. Sadly, that attitude does not seem to be the prevailing one.


> Sadly, that attitude does not seem to be the prevailing one.

You are right. I was just trying to point out how treating one's YT presence as a business could be done right, but I agree that's not the majority of Youtubers.


Literally no one has said she was justified in shooting anyone.


If you thought investing your future in internet videos was a good idea, I'd stay away from cryptocurrency.


Why not? It is not much different that wanting a career in video elsewhere. There are many people who are successfully doing so. Also, most do not earn money only from Youtube, but also from sponsorships and patrons.

(Also, I am neither making videos on Youtube nor invest in crypto, I just happen to follow a bunch of people that do.)


'De-Monetized' suggests that someone who produces a video has an automatic right to income. That's bonkers, it's already quite a service that Youtube allows you to upload your videos to reach an audience that you'd be hard pressed to serve from your own server. They do this for free. In the previous iteration of such platforms all the ad income would go to the owner of the website, not to the rights owners of the videos.

I tend to agree with you, especially since they could put ads directly in the videos. However, they changed their policy fairly recently. If it was money producers were relying on to live, then they are definitely going to be upset.

It's like when Apple pulls something from the AppStore because they want to release something similar. They shouldn't have tried to build a business on someone else's platform, but it's still shitty.

On another note: I hate fanatics, no matter of what plumage.

100% agree, no "however"


>It's like when Apple pulls something from the AppStore because they want to release something similar.

when did that happen?


During the early days of the App Store the guidelines prohibited duplicating system functionality, but that hasn’t been the case in a long time, wasn’t retroactive, didn’t apply to non-system Apple software and I’m not sure how strictly it was enforced in the first place anyway.


Not sure about apple but it did happen with Twitter and third party clients.


F.lux for example.


Was f.lux ever available on the Mac App Store? I downloaded it for free from their website... It wasn't allowed on the iOS App Store because it needs access to private APIs.


I thought it was kicked out of the iOS App Store for using the private APIs, after it was accepted. That is fair on its face, because those are the rules Apple set. However, the F.lux developers pleaded with Apple to open up the APIs needed to implement their software and were ignored. Then Apple copied their functionality as a built in feature of the OS. So the full story doesn’t make Apple look good.


It was never on the App store, they just offered a download that could be installed without jailbreaking: https://justgetflux.com/sideload/


Flux


AppGratis.


what was the similar feature Apple wanted to release?


App discovery services.


I don't know about that. iOS 7 didn't have any app discovery improvements in the App store. Unless you want to count slightly different top apps lists and the "Near me" feature. It wasn't until iOS 8 (a year and a half later) that they added the Explore tab.


Without prejudice to the fact that it's not ok to shoot people:

Youtube set out to "own video", and they've been very successful at it. There are a few alleged alternatives out there like vimeo, but come on, how many smart TV's do you know that have a vimeo app pre-installed? Google favors youtube content over other video sites in its search results, and youtube is on-again-off-again zero rated with ISP's all around the globe. Youtube is dominant.

As a result, cutting someone off from youtube is actually a pretty big deal. It's a critical platform for all modern charities, and most modern companies. It's very hard for a marketing department to compete with other companies if they can't use youtube to distribute tutorials, promo content, key announcements and other errata. In most countries, youtube could swing an election by cutting off one party without warning mid-campaign.

And yeah, it's a platform for people to make independent income. Youtube channels are modern busking. I personally would consider income from youtube too tenuous to be willing to commit to a rent contract on the back of that income, but some people are more adventurous.

Youtube wanted a near-total monopoly on internet video, and now they have it. Good for them, but it's not consequence free in my opinion. If they could legitimately tell this person "go use one of our competitors, we don't care", then I'd consider them in the clear. But youtube has successfully suppressed any serious competition, and as a result I consider them to have the same responsibilities as a public utility. They're the USPS of video now. If they're going to have no competitors, they also shouldn't be allowed to arbitrarily cut anyone off from their service.


I feel like there are a lot of parallels between these "private" web services that are extremely dominant, and the "company towns" of previous decades/centuries. Workers didn't have a right to dictate what the town could and couldn't do, and if they were fired or felt they weren't getting enough pay they could always pack up and move to a new town or found their own city with their own money like a good bootstrappy entrepreneur... right?

For some people in the new gig economy of attention/viewfarming, they've found themselves dependent on a particular 'company town' online service. I'm not so much of an anarcho-capitalist that I find this situation hunky-dory.


That's an interesting parallel worth researching further.


Sometimes I wonder if YouTube should cut their losses regarding this whole revenue sharing thing. It's so far caused so much grief and losses for them and it doesn't seem to be able to sustain high quality content like it was intended to. Perhaps they should just leave YouTube to go back to its roots where people were just video sharing for sharing's sake and perhaps focus the money on YouTube Red where they can just buy high quality shows outright


I wonder the same thing sometimes. I remember being happy when they lowered the bar to entry to the Partnership Program. Now I think that was a huge mistake and they should think of phasing it out completely. Too many people have misunderstood where the money comes from and whether or not they're employed by YouTube (they're not).


Or maybe they could focus on just the video hosting bit which they are excellent at. Charge large creators for disk space and ad tools. Then they could outsource the ad stuff to partner ad networks who would take the brunt of the bad PR, but YouTube could take a cut from the ad networks revenue.


"Demonetized" is exactly the term used both by Youtube creators and by Youtube representatives for this phenomenon for as long as it has been around.

Youtube first made the pitch that you could "monetize" your videos. Then they had to deny that offer to certain cases. This naturally led to "demonetized" (as opposed to some awkward phrase like "ineligible for monetization").

The word is reasonable in context, and the usage ship has sailed — all market participants use it. I think it's a big stretch to see any presumption of a right in the use of this word.


>>That's bonkers, it's already quite a service that Youtube allows you to upload your videos to reach an audience that you'd be hard pressed to serve from your own server.

And discoverability.

A whole generation of stand up comedians, music instrument players and other people have been able to reach people easily and then make careers on top of it all because one easily discovers content on YouTube.

YouTube to me is to get your content some mindshare in the crowds. How you build your career from there should be up-to you.


Yes, that's a very important part here. But that audience isn't 'yours', the content is yours, and if you drive any measurable new traffic to Youtube (which would be quite hard) then maybe you could lay a claim to that fraction of the audience. But on the whole Youtube functions as a cable network with a huge number of eyeballs on the other side and they (not you) control that network and they will protect the network at the expense of the individual content generators (as they should).

It's pretty easy to get sucked in to the illusion that Youtube needs the content generators more than vice-versa but Youtube is drowning in content, a lifetime worth of new content is uploaded every day so they have the freedom to pick-and-choose at their pleasure and if you want access to those eyeballs then you are playing their game.


> 'De-Monetized' suggests that someone who produces a video has an automatic right to income.

No, it doesn't: it suggests, accurately, that without and until that action, the content would be permitted to be enrolled in some income-generating program. Whether this is a matter of natural or legal rights or (as is in fact the case) merely the discretionary policy of the program operator is outside the scope of the implication of the term.


"They do this for free" in return for something. Google/Youtube is not doing this for free. They are a corporation in it for the profit


Don't companies like Google and Facebook paint an altruistic picture of themselves which creates the expectation of "rights" from its users? You can't gob up all that juicy PR and political correctness then whack people with a reality hammer and expect them not to be surprised.

This was a terrible tragedy and as with all tragedies I fear it will cause parties to double down rather then be introspective of themselves and find a way to grow from it, be it monetization policies, gun rights, office security, etc.


Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact

Search: