Suspect criticised website's policies

Shooting suspect Nasim Najafi Aghdam was a vegan activist and video creator who published an eclectic set of videos on her site.
Shooting suspect Nasim Najafi Aghdam was a vegan activist and video creator who published an eclectic set of videos on her site.PHOTO: NASIM AGHDAM/FACEBOOK

SAN FRANCISCO • The woman who police say went on a shooting rampage at YouTube's headquarters on Tuesday was a video creator who criticised the company for policies she claimed limited her audience, according to media reports.

Police in San Bruno, California, identified the suspect as 39-year-old Nasim Najafi Aghdam.

Aghdam's online profile shows she was a vegan activist who ran a website called NasimeSabz.com, meaning "Green Breeze" in Persian, where she posted about Persian culture and veganism, as well as long passages critical of YouTube.

"YouTube filtered my channels to keep them from getting views!" the website reads. "There is no equal growth opportunity on YouTube or any other video-sharing site."

The site also complains about the small amount of money Aghdam said she received from a video that was viewed a few hundred thousand times.

It also lists several YouTube videos, some devoted to vegan activism with graphic images of animal cruelty, along with channels in English, Farsi and Turkish. The domain name for the website was created in 2015, according to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers.

Aghdam's online profile shows she was a vegan activist who ran a website called NasimeSabz.com, meaning "Green Breeze" in Persian, where she posted about Persian culture and veganism, as well as long passages critical of YouTube.

On her YouTube channels, she published an eclectic set of videos, including music parodies and workouts, on topics like animal cruelty and vegan cooking.

As of Tuesday evening, the YouTube channels were terminated for violating policies against spam, deceptive practices and misleading content, or other terms of service violations, according to YouTube. Facebook and Instagram pages featuring Aghdam, which Bloomberg viewed on Tuesday evening, were also removed shortly after reports identifying her as the shooter.

Over the past year, YouTube has restricted the number of advertisements running on millions of user-generated videos. The restrictions were in response to complaints from major advertisers over inappropriate content on the service. YouTube's moves were criticised by some video creators who relied on the site for ad revenue.

BLOOMBERG, REUTERS, NYTIMES

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 05, 2018, with the headline 'Suspect criticised website's policies'. Print Edition | Subscribe