Rachel Blevins–YouTube has announced that it is banning videos that show users how to manufacture or modify firearms, adding to its ban on videos that link to firearms sales, and as users find that their videos have been removed or their channels are being suspended, some are moving to PornHub and other alternative platforms to promote their content.
A YouTube forum moderator with the username Elizabeth announced the change this week, stating that the new guidelines will go into effect next month.
“We’re updating our policies around content featuring firearms as part of the regular changes we make to our policies on an ongoing basis,” Elizabeth said. “The updated policies are available in our Help Center today, but the new guidelines won’t go into effect until a month from now. If your channel has firearms-related content, we recommend reviewing the new policies in detail and making any updates before then. There are no changes to our monetization policies for this content.”
YouTube’s “Policies on Content Featuring Firearms” now states that prohibited videos will include content that “provides instructions on manufacturing a firearm, ammunition, high capacity magazine, homemade silencers/suppressors, or certain firearms accessories such as those listed above.”
The new regulations also ban videos that show “instructions on how to convert a firearm to automatic or simulated automatic firing capabilities,” and videos that contain instructions on how to install those accessories or modifications.
YouTube has previously banned videos that show firearms, accessories that enable a firearm to simulate automatic fire, and high capacity magazines for the purpose of “direct sales or links to sites that sell these items.”
As YouTube moves to ban videos that do not comply with the updated guidelines, it has left many channels devoted to guns looking for a new outlet for their content. In response to the changes, InRangeTV has announced that it will start distributing its videos on PornHub.
In a statement, InRangeTV host Karl Kasarda said he believes the recent change in policy “touches at the core of social media’s control over what has become increasingly ‘the public sphere of conversation.’”
“YouTube’s recent update on their policy towards firearm content is extremely poorly worded and open-ended. It is unclear what their goals are directly, as well as what content is (or might be) actually affected. YouTube’s actions against firearms related, as well as some other, content over recent history has been increasingly arbitrary and capricious so there is little reason to believe that this new policy is not going to be used to hammer content creators into whatever corner they see fit.”
Kasarda said that YouTube’s crackdown has been a process that has been ongoing for more than a year, and InRangeTV has experienced its content being “de-prioritized, flagged erroneously, demonetized by AI bots with little recourse,” and many of their subscribers have stopped receiving notifications about new videos or have been automatically unsubscribed from the channel without their consent.
“We will not be seeking any monetization from PornHub and do not know what their monetization policies are, we are merely looking for a safe harbor for our content and for our viewers,” Kasarda said, noting that the channel uses several platforms to promote its content.
As The Free Thought Project has reported, while YouTube has ignored ISIS recruiting videos, it has chosen to label videos that show the United States committing war crimes, conducting airstrikes that kill innocent civilians and aiding the enemies it claims to be fighting as “extremist content” that is banned from the site.
At the same time, YouTube hosts thousands of videos with millions of views that are disguised as child-friendly content, while they actually promote violence, sex, and pedophilia. Its moderators also revealedin November 2017 that “YouTube’s system for reporting sexualized comments left on children’s videos has not been functioning correctly for more than a year.”
Many content creators who have been targeted by YouTube have found a new home in Steemit’s DTube, which allows users to benefit from the content they create without the fear of how the platform’s constantly changing policies may affect them. To find out more about how Steemit provides an alternative to sites like Facebook and YouTube, check it out here.