YouTube Shooter Nasim Aghdam’s Father Says He Called Police Concerned About Her Anger with YouTube’s Filtering and Censorship

Nasim Aghdam’s father said law enforcement authorities contacted him Tuesday at 2 a.m., telling him they had found his missing daughter safe in her car in Mountain View. CBS Los Angeles Tina Patel reports.

A woman who lived in Menifee, California has been identified as the lone shooter at YouTube headquarters, 901 Cherry Avenue in San Bruno. Early indications regarding a motive indicate shooter Nasim Aghdam believed she was being suppressed by YouTube. Nasim Aghdam told her family members she “hated” the company, according to media interviews with family members. San Bruno police say she opened fire at YouTube’s headquarters in California, wounding three people before taking her own life, police said. A fourth person injured her ankle while fleeing the shooter.

San Bruno investigators do not believe Nasim Aghdam specifically knew the three victims when she pulled out a handgun and shot them in a courtyard at the company’s headquarters on Tuesday in San Bruno, about 12 miles south of San Francisco. Menifee, California is located south of Los Angeles, and is about 455 miles from YouTube headquarters.

Aghdam used the name “Nasime Sabz” online. A website, believed to be Aghdam’s website was associated with at least four YouTube accounts, two Instagram accounts, and other social media accounts. The website criticized YouTube’s policies, stating the company was trying to “suppress” content creators.

The YouTube videos are no longer available. Each video, according to YouTube, is unavailable “because the YouTube account associated with this video has been terminated.” A Facebook page linked from the “Nasime Sabz” website is suspended, with an announcement, “Sorry, this content isn’t available right now … The link you followed may have expired, or the page may only be visible to an audience you’re not in.”

“Youtube filtered my channels to keep them from getting views! There is no equal growth opportunity on YOUTUBE or any other video sharing site, your channel will grow if they want to!!!!!”

— Nasim Sabz website

According to her father, Ismail Aghdam, his daughter “hated” YouTube and was angry that the company stopped paying her for videos she posted on the platform. Ismail Aghdam spoke with The Mercury News and CBS Los Angeles, but was initially too upset to appear on camera.

On Monday April 2, 2018, Ismail Aghdam called police to report his daughter missing after she didn’t answer her phone for two days. He warned police officers that she might go to YouTube’s headquarters.

Mountain View police officers found Aghdam sleeping in her car in a parking lot about 2 a.m. Tuesday, April 3, 2018, but released her after she refused to answer their questions. Aghdam didn’t appear to be a threat to herself or others, according to Mountain View police spokeswoman Katie Nelson. Mountain View is located about 30 miles south of YouTube’s headquarters, and is the location of Google, Mozilla Foundation, Symantec, and Intuit headquarters. Inside, Googleplex in Mountain View, is the corporate headquarters of Google and parent company Alphabet Inc. Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino is about 4 miles south of Mountain View.

Mountain View police spokeswoman Katie Nelson would not confirm whether officers had been warned that Aghdam might have been headed to YouTube headquarters.

YouTube Shooting Victims
Male, age 36, in critical condition
Female, age 32, in serious condition
Female, age 27, in fair condition

— Spokesman San Francisco General Hospital

Police on arrival at the YouTube shooting scene discovered one victim with a gunshot wound located near the front entrance, and then found the shooter with what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to San Bruno Police Chief Ed Barberini. Two additional gunshot victims were later discovered at an adjacent business. Witnesses reported seeing a gunshot victim or victims at a Carl’s Jr. hamburger restaurant.

YouTube co-founder Steve Chen attended River Trails Middle School in Mount Prospect during his middle school years, and John Hersey High School in Arlington Heights for his freshman year. During Chen’s final three years of high school, he attended the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy in Aurora, Illinois. He then attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he studied computer science. Chen graduated in 2002.

YouTube was founded by Chad Hurley, Steve Chen and Jawed Karim, who were all early employees of PayPal. Hurley and Chen, and venture capital firm Sequoia Capital (estimated 30% stake) sold YouTube to Google on October 16, 2006. Since 2006, YouTube has been a mostly independently run subsidiary owned by Google, which also has a large facility nearby in San Bruno. More than a thousand YouTube engineers and other employees — 1700 total — work in several buildings in San Bruno, where YouTube is the city’s largest employer, and occupies about 57 percent of the total office space in San Bruno. The headquarters occupied by YouTube was built in the late 1990s, and was initially occupied by clothing retailer Gap, which now has its headquarters in San Francisco.

The YouTube headquarters still has the building’s roof covered with native grasses and wildflowers, and several years ago, the Google YouTube building introduced a 3-lane red slide for workers to expedite from upper an upper floor to a lower floor. Google has 1-lane slides in several Google offices around the world.

YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki said in a tweet the company would “come together to heal as a family.”

On comment discussions on YouTube videos, Facebook, and independent websites, many people have reported they’re not surprised an attack occurred on YouTube — some claiming “they saw it coming.” Some commenters are YouTube publishers who have had their own experiences that they describe as involving unfair and capricious practices at YouTube. They argue that YouTube demonetizes or suspends accounts of some publishers, while allowing accounts with more egregious content to flourish. These commenters say, once a publisher violates a policy that causes suspension or faces demonetization, the publisher may face little or no recourse with the company’s customer service to resolve or even completely understand how they violated policy. While many commenters righteously argue that a company’s harsh social media policies doesn’t justify killing; other commenters, who describe themselves as realists, countered that when people feel disenfranchised or believe their free speech is suppressed, the desperate and isolated extremists are unfortunately at risk to be converted to think violence is their only solution.

Perhaps Google/YouTube should have perceived this type of threat, and should have implemented better security for their employees, better policies that reduce the risk of disenfranchisement of publishers, and better policies that recognize potential conflicts between the company and its users. Certainly personal injury lawyers in Silicon Valley will be developing their cases for the three injured with gunshot wounds, while investigating any possible existence and knowledge of previous verbal threats or other threats against Google/YouTube.

Before social media sites such as Facebook, YouTube and Instagram disabled her accounts, media companies copied Nasim Aghdam’s videos, which reveal someone who was upset with the video giant over the views on her channel.

Her father told CBS2 News late Tuesday that he had warned YouTube of his daughter’s anger toward the video-sharing company. Tom Wait reports from San Bruno.

See also …
Time The YouTube Gurus: How a couple of regular guys built a company that changed the way we see ourselves

New York Times Venture Firm Shares a YouTube Jackpot

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CNBC’s Aditi Roy reports the latest details on the shooting that occurred at the YouTube headquarters.