San Bruno, CA— YouTube has announced that beginning in April, the company will ban how-to videos related to building or refashioning guns, as well as all content that promotes the sale of guns or gun accessories.
According to YouTube’s statement:
Specifically, we don’t allow content that:
— Intends to sell firearms or certain firearms accessories through direct sales (e.g., private sales by individuals) or links to sites that sell these items. These accessories include but may not be limited to accessories that enable a firearm to simulate automatic fire or convert a firearm to automatic fire (e.g., bump stocks, gatling triggers, drop-in auto sears, conversion kits), and high capacity magazines (i.e., magazines or belts carrying more than 30 rounds).
— Provides instructions on manufacturing a firearm, ammunition, high capacity magazine, homemade silencers/suppressors, or certain firearms accessories such as those listed above. This also includes instructions on how to convert a firearm to automatic or simulated automatic firing capabilities.
— Shows users how to install the above-mentioned accessories or modifications.
“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 announcement by YouTube marks the latest company to take a stance in the U.S. gun-control debate, following major retailers like Dick’s Sporting Goods and Walmart, which have taken assertive steps to implement 21-plus age limits for gun sales in the wake of the Parkland school shooting. Bloomberg reports that YouTube, owned by Alphabet Inc.’s Google, has faced criticism for hosting videos about guns.
According to a report by Bloomberg:
For many gun-rights supporters, YouTube has been a haven. A current search on the site for “how to build a gun” yields 25 million results, though that includes items such as toys. At least one producer of gun videos saw its page suspended on Tuesday. Another channel opted to move its videos to an adult-content site, saying that will offer more freedom than YouTube.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation, a gun industry lobbying group, expressed concern about the “censorship of commercial free speech,” and 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,” read a statement released by the National Shooting Sports Foundation. “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.”
A report from MSN revealed that in the midst of YouTube’s new policy announcement, Spike’s Tactical, a gun manufacturing company in Florida, had claimed that their Facebook and YouTube accounts had been suspended for “violating community guidelines.”
The move to censor pro-gun content comes only days before Saturday’s March For Our Lives, a rally described by the media as an event organized by survivors of the February 14 school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida that left 17 dead; the highly-publicized March 14 walkout had an early push from “organizers of the Women’s March on Washington — the same group that donned pink ‘pussy’ hats in a Washington, D.C., protest march following President Donald Trump’s inauguration” according to a report by Lifezette.
Although the new policies will reportedly begin being enforced in April, Bloomberg reported that InRange TV, a channel devoted to firearms, posted on Facebook that they would immediately begin uploading videos to PornHub, an adult content website.
“YouTube’s newly released released vague and one-sided firearms policy makes it abundantly clear that YouTube cannot be counted upon to be a safe harbor for a wide variety of views and subject matter,” InRange TV wrote. “PornHub has a history of being a proactive voice in the online community, as well as operating a resilient and robust video streaming platform.”
With the continued and growing censorship on social media/video platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, many of these gun enthusiasts may find comfort in decentralized blockchain-based alternatives like Steemit, DTube and BitChute.