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YouTube Bans Firearms demo Videos, Entering the Gun Control Debate (bloomberg.com) 667

YouTube has quietly introduced tighter restrictions on videos involving weapons, becoming the latest battleground in the U.S. gun-control debate. "YouTube will ban videos that promote or link to websites selling firearms and accessories, including bump stocks, which allow a semi-automatic rifle to fire faster," reports Bloomberg. "Additionally, YouTube said it will prohibit videos with instructions on how to assemble firearms." From the report: "We routinely make updates and adjustments to our enforcement guidelines across all of our policies," a YouTube spokeswoman said in a statement. "While we've long prohibited the sale of firearms, we recently notified creators of updates we will be making around content promoting the sale or manufacture of firearms and their accessories." The National Shooting Sports Foundation, a gun industry lobbying group, called YouTube's new policy "worrisome." "We suspect it will be interpreted to block much more content than the stated goal of firearms and certain accessory sales," the foundation said in a statement. "We see the real potential for the blocking of educational content that serves instructional, skill-building and even safety purposes. Much like Facebook, YouTube now acts as a virtual public square. The exercise of what amounts to censorship, then, can legitimately be viewed as the stifling of commercial free speech."

The new YouTube policies will be enforced starting in April, but at least two video bloggers have already been affected. Spike's Tactical, a firearms company, said in a post on Facebook that it was suspended from YouTube due to "repeated or severe violations" of the video platform's guidelines.

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YouTube Bans Firearms demo Videos, Entering the Gun Control Debate

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  • CatTube (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sycodon ( 149926 ) on Wednesday March 21, 2018 @06:45PM (#56300875)

    Won't be long before all they have are cat videos.

    • Re:CatTube (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 21, 2018 @07:12PM (#56301069)

      This is probably going to have the opposite effect of what the idiots at Google believe. Where once someone might have turned to a video on YouTube to learn about gun safety, disassembly/assembly, cleaning, etc. they will now attempt it with no knowledge and end up hurting themselves or others. Way to go Google.

      On the positive side, with Google turning YouTube into a children's only web site, it's the perfect opportunity for someone else to end Google's monopoly on user driven video sites.

      • Re:CatTube (Score:5, Interesting)

        by lgw ( 121541 ) on Wednesday March 21, 2018 @09:08PM (#56301945) Journal

        On the positive side, with Google turning YouTube into a children's only web site, it's the perfect opportunity for someone else to end Google's monopoly on user driven video sites.

        Nothing would make me happier. YouTube is my final obstacle to living a Google-free life. Even with ad block, I feel guilty about giving YouTube my traffic, but there's just no credible alternative yet.

      • Re:CatTube (Score:4, Insightful)

        by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Wednesday March 21, 2018 @10:02PM (#56302299) Journal

        This is probably going to have the opposite effect of what the idiots at Google believe

        Yeah, it will make people look for alternatives to Youtube. Not many at first (I don't think many people look at gun assembly videos), but if they keep banning videos, more and more people will look for alternatives.

        • I was watching a series where a person made a M1911 .45 cal semiautomatic pistol from blocks of steel, quite interesting even if you were only interested in the machine shop techniques. But you are correct about content providers looking for other venues for their work. Youtube has been playing a lot of games with providers like demonitizing their video when released, then correcting their "mistake" after the providers have lost revenue form a 100K views.

          Many content providers have evolved to have sets with

        • Re:CatTube (Score:4, Insightful)

          by cayenne8 ( 626475 ) on Thursday March 22, 2018 @10:34AM (#56305243) Homepage Journal
          The thing is....WHY is YouTube banning videos that are showing PERFECTLY LEGAL activities with perfectly legal to own tools? (yes, a gun is nothing more than a tool).

          That's what gets me....

          I can understand them not wanting to allow illegal content, but this stuff is 101% legal to do.

          It is perfectly legal for you to manufacture your own gun.

          It is perfectly legal to modify your weapon in most ways (exception, can't legally modify to full auto)....

          It is legal and actually a good idea to break down, clean and reassemble your weapon.

          So, this is clearly NOTHING more than politically motivated.

          • It's likely their advertisers (their real customers) didn't want to have their products shown next to gun videos. Advertisers are weirdly picky that way
            • Re: CatTube (Score:5, Insightful)

              by sycodon ( 149926 ) on Thursday March 22, 2018 @11:09AM (#56305491)

              That points to a deficiency in YouTube's system.

              There are plenty of gun related industries that would be more than happy to have their brands advertised on Hickock45, for instance.

              The idiots at Youtube seems to only be able to completely remove advertising from a channel rather than to target it. Strange since Googles targets all the time.

            • It's likely their advertisers (their real customers) didn't want to have their products shown next to gun videos. Advertisers are weirdly picky that way

              They long ago de-monitized most all of the gun related channels, so, they're NOT any ads playing over these videos and haven't been for at least a year or so.

          • Re:CatTube (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Ol Olsoc ( 1175323 ) on Thursday March 22, 2018 @03:39PM (#56307481)

            The thing is....WHY is YouTube banning videos that are showing PERFECTLY LEGAL activities with perfectly legal to own tools? (yes, a gun is nothing more than a tool).

            Youtube is run by a Social Justice Warrior, Susan Wojcicki, and before anyone refutes that, they just need to DDG on her name. And she is sinking her claws deeply into YouTube now.

            That is the WHY? of YouTube's pogrom. She, along with Google's new Social Justice mission, is creating a safe space for those people who cannot handle anything other than their personal opinion.

            They've been targeting firearms, Men's rights, and I wonder if they will shut down the UNiversity of Nottingham's Periodic Table of Videos soon. who knows what things could be made if someone has a knowledge of the elements.

      • Re: CatTube (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 21, 2018 @10:18PM (#56302429)

        No, we have the URL full30.com. Gun owners are now in full swing fuck you youtube mode. This attitude leftists have will slowly bring Google to its knees. We as gun owners are also promoting duckduckgo for a search engine as well. Basically anything to get away from true facists.

    • Re:CatTube (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Karmashock ( 2415832 ) on Wednesday March 21, 2018 @10:00PM (#56302287)

      The problem with youtube, google, facebook, twitter, reddit... we took this open platform of the internet where anyone could do anything and we gave control over our behavior to a few big players because their products were slick and had a lot of cash invested in them. We centralized... and in centralizing we gave control over this free wheeling space of the internet to a handful of companies.

      And now we're seeing the problem with that. The same problem we had before with the handful of media companies that provided our TV, Newspapers, Radio, etc...The freedom is gone if you centralize.

      We have to decentralize. Put the power in so many hands that no one would even dream they could stop anything.

      • by bigpat ( 158134 )

        We have to decentralize. Put the power in so many hands that no one would even dream they could stop anything.

        Yes. The funny thing about clouds is that they tend to form one bigger and bigger cloud until they become sometimes destructive storms and then fall apart under their own weight.

  • One sided debate (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 21, 2018 @06:46PM (#56300887)
    Enters U.S. gun-control debate by censoring. Nice!
  • Fine (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BlueStrat ( 756137 ) on Wednesday March 21, 2018 @06:51PM (#56300917)

    Then YouTube can do without my views (or content).

    I know that my dropping YT doesn't matter much, but I won't feel like I'm supporting censorship,even if they have the right on their platform.

    Time also to change my default search engine from Google to something else even if it's not as good.

    Strat

    • by Okian Warrior ( 537106 ) on Wednesday March 21, 2018 @07:18PM (#56301111) Homepage Journal

      And just today, Gab TV [gab.ai] went online.

      Seriously - why do these companies think they need to direct our thoughts and actions into "acceptable" channels?

      There's an interesting set of "public forum" lawsuits [callawyer.com] that discuss this. Especially this one [dww.com] from CA.

      Basically, if a system becomes the equivalent of the town bulletin board, then freedom of speech must be enforced.

      (I recall a man suing a mall for taking down his (otherwise legal) posts on *their* builletin board. They claimed that their board was private property, and could decide what was allowed. He claimed that the mall replaced the supermarket which used to be there, and the mall bulletin-board now became the public forum that used to be the supermarket bulletin-board.)

      I think the dividing line would have to be public access. If you *pay* someone to write (for example) articles for your paper, then you can control what they write and choose to publish or not. If you *let anyone* post commentary or opinions, then first amendment must be enforced.

      (Oh and if you disagree, can you please show why companies don't need to enforce freedom of speech, while bakeries must make custom gay wedding cakes when they don't want to? They're both 1st amendment issues.)

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        If Gab exists then why isn't that enough? You don't say specifically but your argument seems to be that YouTube is the most popular service so should be forced to publish videos.

        Can you explain why it's so important to be on YouTube and Gab isn't good enough?

        As for the bakery, it's obvious. Sexual orientation is a protected trait, gun enthusiast isn't.

      • by Jodka ( 520060 ) on Wednesday March 21, 2018 @11:38PM (#56302937)

        And just today, Gab TV [gab.ai] went online.

        My experience with gab was first that I was like "Yay! No censorship of political opinions! I am there."

        Turns out that, while it is not that uncensored speech is inherently bad speech, when only a few forums permit that then they become magnets for those prohibited elsewhere. I am not one of those people who is afraid of exposure to opinions which I oppose, but let me put it this way: There was a limit to how many times I could see some variation or another on "Jews suck!" before I was like, well, I don't really want to waste my time looking at this crap.

           

        • by Reziac ( 43301 ) * on Thursday March 22, 2018 @12:36PM (#56306009) Homepage Journal

          Yer doin' it wrong. If you read the mass feed, you'll get all the garbage (seriously, would you read here at a default of -1 ??) Far better is to make an account, then find and follow a few people you like, and branch off by checking out people they repost, and so on. No reason to read the raw-sewage feed (tho you can do so at any time by putting * in the Search box). Meanwhile, you can mute keywords for shit you don't want to see.

          I have a Gab Pro account solely because it lets me makes Lists, so I can sort out a few specialized feeds for when my Followed group is too much to skim through.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      Sure. Cut off your nose to spite your face.

      I'm honestly on the fence about the ban. I'm lukewarm on it ending promotions that benefit firearms manufacturers, because it will take with it some really good educational content and reviews. But the ban completely misses the really wacky NRATV-like content that is made by true-believers. I'd really like to stop running into that that tripe. It is really unnerving stuff.

      This is said by someone who really enjoys shooting, whether hunting, long-range target, or

      • Re:Fine (Score:4, Informative)

        by bobbied ( 2522392 ) on Wednesday March 21, 2018 @07:43PM (#56301301)

        If I were to shoot an unarmed robber in my home, I'd likely end up in jail.

        Where I live, shooting an intruder armed or not who entered my home is perfectly legal and is also a defense in a civil trial. In fact, I can legally shoot a robber any place I am legally allowed to be. So if somebody tries to rob my car in a parking lot or mug me on the sidewalk, I can legally shoot them and they (or their estate should I be a good shot) won't successfully sue me in civil court. I'm not saying I WOULD take a shot at somebody on a public street only that I have that right. Most places would allow you to defend your home and shoot any intruder, armed or not.

        Where do you live anyway? I'd be moving if I didn't have the right to shoot an unarmed intruder in my house. Self defense is a basic natural right.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      Did you also quit Slashdot when they censored the n word?

  • That's odd (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Unknown User ( 4795349 ) on Wednesday March 21, 2018 @07:04PM (#56301007)
    I'm a run-off-the-mill educated European left-wing liberal and nevertheless occasionally like watching US firearms videos like FPSRussia shooting bazookas at Zombie clown figures. Don't get me wrong, I am for fairly strict gun control and think many US states would fare better with stricter control and better background checks, but I don't quite see the point of that video restriction, to be honest. It does nothing for tighter gun control and I fail to see any beneficial effect of restricting hobby videos and (legal!) sales information. Makes no sense to me.
    • I'm a run-off-the-mill educated European left-wing liberal and nevertheless occasionally like watching US firearms videos like FPSRussia shooting bazookas at Zombie clown figures.

      Its not just that... This has huge potential to also affect channels like ForgottenWeapons, BlokeOnTheRange, and Kickok45. Those all show demos of firearms almost daily, from new production to 100+ years old antiques, rarely-seen, and one-off developmental arms; along with discussions of the firearm containing massive amounts of historical, cultural, and production method documentation. A majority of the firearms ForgottenWeapons is able to showcase are from James D Julia Auctioneers and Rock Island Auction

      • by mysidia ( 191772 )

        You can demo firearms as much as you want; as long as you're not showing off how to install or manufacture the banned accessories, or how to construct firearms or manufacture ammunition, etc. The policy update [google.com]
        Prohibits attempting to then sell firearms or certain firearm accessories through direct private sale or linking to a website....

      • by Reziac ( 43301 ) *

        I'm wondering how they justify prohibiting links to one type of merchandise while allowing links to others. I also wonder if someday merch links will only function as affiliate links where Google gets a cut.

  • Like many big companies end up doing. In time, YouTube will join Myspace and Facebook in the hall of internet has-beens.

  • by SmaryJerry ( 2759091 ) on Wednesday March 21, 2018 @07:09PM (#56301029)
    Could a new startup PLEASE dethrone YouTube. There are a million video sites but none of them does social networking and subscriptions quiet like YouTube. Youtube has way way too much social networking tools to users and content creators actually and it is their key advantage. Now that they are a household name, their brand alone is an advantage as well but not for long if they keep trying to censor the creators or make them walk on egg shells knowing a small little slip of the tongue could cause your videos and even your channel to get banned or demonetized (and you being essentially fired from your job). That is another option, YouTube Creators could create a Union to give them at least a tiny bit of strength against this overfed and power hungry beast that wants to dictate you their terms or face your entire livelihood destroyed.
  • Unlike the ISPs, there's dozens of viable competitors to YouTube out there. Absolutely no need to regulate the platform providers like they're common carriers. No siree, YouTube will be replaced in no time by a more free speech friendly alternative...

    Amirite...?

    • by harrkev ( 623093 )

      there's dozens of viable competitors to YouTube out there

      Where?

      I tried looking, and the closest semi-popular ones that I could find were DailyMotion and Vimeo, Unfortunately, neither one seems to have a great deal of content. I like retro tech and photography vids. Not a huge amount to choose from.

      Also, a lot of people earn MONEY from YouTube, and people make a living off of their videos. If you can't monetize, you probably can't afford to make the videos. AFAIK, neither DailyMotion or Vimeo pays mon

  • by bjdevil66 ( 583941 ) on Wednesday March 21, 2018 @07:18PM (#56301109)

    It's as if they're saying, "Let's at least make a political statement on gun control," statement.

    Also, from the tin foil hat department - How far will this go back in Youtube's HQ? While it sounds crazy today, what will the Youtube owners say about working on cars in a decade, when many people are riding around in autonomous cars? What will happen when a "terrorist" uses an old-fashioned car with a steering wheel, gas pedal, and no autobraking system to mow down dozens of people in a random city? Is Youtube going to remove auto mechanic HOWTO videos so we can't modify (or even fix) our own cars? Slippery slope 101.

    • While it sounds crazy today, what will the Youtube owners say about working on cars in a decade, when many people are riding around in autonomous cars? What will happen when a "terrorist" uses an old-fashioned car with a steering wheel, gas pedal, and no autobraking system to mow down dozens of people in a random city?

      I've been telling people for years now, demolition Man [youtube.com] has been damn near 100% on it's predictions for cars.

  • Uploaded to a file server.

    YouTube is becoming pointless anyway as they move to shovel more advertising [slashdot.org] down our throats.

  • Slow Motion of an AK-47 Underwater
    • My favorite smarter every day moment of all time is when someone gets a drinks stuck up in a tree and destin says "son, go get your rifle" and his aunt shoots the branch the drone is stuck on to get the drone down.

  • Google Culture (Score:5, Insightful)

    by labnet ( 457441 ) on Wednesday March 21, 2018 @07:42PM (#56301289)

    Google is increasingly made up of left leaning philosophies.

    Their logic is: kids are mass murdering with guns: lets stop teaching them how to use them lest we are complicit.
    The logic is flawed because they really should be asking:
    Why are so many young men so angry at the world that they want to wreak destruction on it. That is the right question, because there are societies with lots of guns (eg switzerland) that don't have young men shooting up schools. Guns are a symptom of a deeper cultural problem.

    The left are trying to divide everyone into social groups that are victims. This doesn't help angry young men and only makes the problem worse especially white ones who are told they are the new scum of the earth.
    The message needs to be: the world is chaos, and your job is to reduce the chaos through sacrifice. Find something in the world that needs fixing, that makes the world a better place, and strive as hard as you can to fix it. Sacrifice means putting off todays gratification for a better future. A surgeon spends 15 years of hard work before he is an expert saving lives and creating order.

    So while I get what youtube is trying to do, I think it will be entirely ineffective.

    • by cyn1c77 ( 928549 )

      Google is increasingly made up of left leaning philosophies.

      Google has always been made up of left leaning philosophies, like most of Silicon valley.

      What you are seeing is them starting to play hardball in response to what they interpret to be an aggressive conservative agenda.

      I'd expect to see more of it in the future given the way that US politics seems to be evolving.

    • by Luckyo ( 1726890 )

      There's a reason why Peterson was "accidentally" banned from google entirely for a short period. The message you're implying to be good is seen as the greatest evil by the far left ideologues (note - not left leaning but far left leaning), because it implies that people have agency and should use it for personal betterment.

      In far left ideology, personal betterment can only come from the collective. Individualism is the original sin, and cause of all evil. That is why many of the people who were sent to gula

  • by jcr ( 53032 ) <jcr.mac@com> on Wednesday March 21, 2018 @07:47PM (#56301329) Journal

    I saw that one well-known gun vlogger has started posting his videos on PornHub. If PH plays their cards right, they could launch a site with more general branding "vidhub"? "AnythingGoesTube"? and take a significant chunk of the traffic that YT gets today.

    -jcr

  • Stupid, but... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by duke_cheetah2003 ( 862933 ) on Wednesday March 21, 2018 @08:22PM (#56301547) Homepage

    OK, it's stupid. YouTube is really going to pay dearly for this. Taking any stance on any issue is not what YouTube should be doing. BUT! They're well within their right to shoot themselves in the foot.

    As a side note, opening this can of worms is going to be a complete nightmare for Google. Once you take one stance on one issue, now you're going to be expected take more stances on issues someone feels is critical. Also, now that you've put your card on the table, refusing to take a stance when demanded to will always result in the most negative position being assumed. Sorry about that Google, but you have my sympathy.

    They, we, and everyone would have been much better off if YouTube kept silent and just said, 'We store and redistribute our user's videos, nothing more. Each user is responsible for the content of their videos.'

    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      Re "Once you take one stance on one issue, now you're going to be expected take more stances on issues someone feels is critical. "
      The SJW have lists of content they never want linked and found.
      Now they know all that have to do is push an issue and they will get their content bans.
      Art?
      History?
      Politics?
      News?
      Books?
      Movies?
      Comedy?
      Its all next with SJW getting their demands in.
      The US freedom of speech and freedom after speech is looking great with every SJW demand for more censorship.
  • by poity ( 465672 ) on Wednesday March 21, 2018 @08:54PM (#56301819)

    Remember supporting the freedom of information even though "the bad guys" might also find it?

    Remember when ISPs and server operators did it we called it censorship just as if the government had done it?

    Remember when geeks showed finesse rather than imposed their will with a hammer?

    Anyone remember?

    Nah?

  • https://www.full30.com/ [full30.com] has it covered. Hickok45 right on the front page.

  • by RightwingNutjob ( 1302813 ) on Wednesday March 21, 2018 @09:23PM (#56302065)
    on suggested videos, don't browse while logged in and don't leave or read any of the comments. That's about all you can do since they're a near monopoly on much of their content. Don't give them any more eyeball time than you have to. Kill time in other ways besides youtube browsing Get your cat videos elsewhere, get your music elsewhere. Read a book. Watch what you want to watch and not a second more, no matter how tempting it is.

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