YouTube Shooter Identified, Her Web Presence Probed

AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

Officers run toward a YouTube office in San Bruno, Calif. on April 3, 2018. 

Nasim Aghdam has been identified as the alleged female shooter at YouTube headquarters, the San Bruno Police Department confirmed on Tuesday evening. 

Aghdam, a 39-year-old woman from San Diego, was found dead on the scene of the shooting at YouTube's San Bruno campus by what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound, San Bruno commander Geoff Caldwell said in a statement. "The San Bruno Police Department is investigating a motive for this shooting," the statement continues. "At this time there is no evidence that the shooter knew the victims of this shooting or that individuals were specifically targeted." 

Law enforcement sources previously told the Los Angeles Times that they are looking for a connection between videos posted by a woman of the same name to both YouTube and a personal website. In some of those videos, including one re-posted by NBC Bay Area, Aghdam discusses what she perceived as YouTube's censorship as well the demonetization of her video content. In the video, Aghdam is shown speaking directly to the camera and claiming, "I am being discriminated and filtered on YouTube." She goes on to say that the streaming service had age restricted one of her exercise videos because "it got famous and was getting many views." Age restricting is typically a way to protect YouTube's young viewers from inappropriate or sexually explicit content. 

All social media accounts for Aghdam had been taken down as of Tuesday evening, including a YouTube channel, Facebook page and Instagram account. Her website, on which she had posted several of her videos, is still online. On the website, she claims that YouTube "filtered my channels to keep them from getting views!" She also has a lengthy statement warning,

"Dictatorship exists in all countries but with different tactics!" She goes on to say: "There is no equal growth opportunity on YouTube or any other video sharing site, your channel wil grow if they want to!!!!!"

In a press conference Tuesday, San Bruno (California) Police Chief Ed Barberini confirmed that a female shooter opened fire at YouTube's headquarters around midday. Several hundred employees evacuated from the premises and multiple victims of gunshot wounds have been transported to area hospitals. The suspect died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, he added. 

Three of the victims were transported to Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital with more expected, according to Brent Andrew, the chief communications officer for the hospital. During a press conference on Tuesday afternoon, he identified the patients as a 36-year-old male in critical condition, a 32-year-old woman in serious condition and a 27-year-old woman in fair condition. The condition or whereabouts of the fourth victim, who police said did not have gunshot wounds, are unknown.

The last year has seen strained relations between YouTube and its homegrown stars. The company has made changes to its platform in order to help it more effectively patrol the billions of hours of video uploaded to its site and assuage advertiser concerns over brand safety. After some of those changes went into effect last summer, YouTube creators complained that their videos were not making as much money as they had in the past. Most top creators have seen their monetization levels return to normal. Earlier this year, YouTube also changed its rules for which creators could join its Partner Program and share in advertising revenue. The more restrictive rules — which included the requirement that a channel have at least 1,000 subscribers, 4,000 hours of watch time in a 12 month period and 10,000 total views — meant that many smaller channels were dropped from the program. It is unclear whether Aghdam would have been impacted by any of these changes.

Requests for comment from YouTube and the San Bruno Police Department were not immediately returned.

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