Yesterday afternoon, a shooter entered the San Bruno YouTube headquarters and open fired on three individuals, leaving one in critical condition. As the media scrambled to find out who the perpetrator was and their motivations for opening fire on YouTube, the San Bruno Police quickly identified and revealed the suspect’s identity.
It was revealed that Nasim Najafi Aghdam, a San Diego resident and online personality, was the shooter. She died swiftly from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, leaving behind a devastated family and a social media history that helped illuminate her motives. According to her own social media accounts and websites, as well as her family’s statements, Nasim was unhappy about YouTube’s de-monetization policy and how it was affecting her videos. She felt that YouTube and other social media platforms like Instagram were unjustly leaving her without an income.
— San Bruno Police (@SanBrunoPolice) April 4, 2018
YouTube has indeed been implementing some big changes to how videos reach an audience and how much money creators can obtain from ads. Nasim’s attack was a tragic, impossible-to-foresee consequence of those changes. “I’m being discriminated and filtered on YouTube, and I’m not the only one. My old videos that used to get many views, stopped getting views. This is because I’m getting filtered,” she said in one of her videos.
Nasim posted frequently about being a vegan and exercising and also shared content related to animal cruelty, possibly in an attempt at online activism. Her YouTube channel, as well as her Instagram and Facebook accounts, were deactivated immediately after the police revealed her identity, but not before different media outlets released screenshots of them.
Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai reached out to comfort his employees, and executives from companies like Twitter, Uber, and Apple expressed their support.
There are no words to describe the tragedy that occurred today. @SusanWojcicki & I are focused on supporting our employees & the @YouTube community through this difficult time together. Thank you to the police & first responders for their efforts, and to all for msgs of support.
— Sundar Pichai (@sundarpichai) April 3, 2018
According to police officials, there is no evidence that Nasim knew her victims. There’s also no word yet on the YouTube employee left in a critical condition.