On Tuesday, a 39-year-old woman fired indiscriminately at the YouTube headquarters in San Bruno, injuring three people, before taking her own life. The shooter was identified as Nasim Najafi Aghdam, a YouTube video creator who, according to several media reports, was angry with the video service for “ruining her life.”
But even before Tuesday, Aghdam was famous. Known as Green Nasim in Iran, she was a social media activist with a strong following on a number of social platforms.
Her often bizarre videos had gone viral in Iran in the past, and she was known as a one-of-a-kind Persian female bodybuilder. She had used the platform in the past to push her vegan belief system and promote ‘healthy living.’
It was reported that she had monetised her YouTube account before recent changes to social media platform’s revenue system. This policy changes had caused deep distress, according to her father.
YouTube has tinkered with its policies recently – some of which has raised the hackles of the creator community. In late 2017, YouTube had started flagging videos that were not ‘advertiser friendly’, and that had started costing many creators revenue.
In January 2018, YouTube announced a change which made channels with fewer subscriber counts ineligible to run ads. This affected a large number of of creators in YouTube’s partner program, as they could no longer monetise their content. This was especially true of niche content makers who focussed on subjects such as mental illness or LGBTQ+ issues.
The policy changes were made in response to the backlash YouTube faced after popular vlogger Logan Paul broadcasted a suicide victim’s body. He continued to monetise his account for days after the incident.