By Erika Haas
YouTube rolls out big changes in response to the Las Vegas shooting.
In the wake of the Las Vegas shooing, YouTube has banned all videos demonstrating how to modify firearms so that they can fire in more rapid succession.
More specifically, the site has taken down all content explaining how to install “bump stocks,” the device used by the Vegas shooter when he opened fire on a crowd of Route 91 Festival-goers, leaving 58 dead and over 500 more injured.
“We have long had a policy against harmful and dangerous content,” a spokesman for YouTube said, reports The Telegraph. “In the wake of the recent tragedy in Las Vegas, we have taken a closer look at videos that demonstrate how to convert firearms to make them fire more quickly and we’ve expanded our existing policy to prohibit these videos.”
The policy change is likely more of a strategic business move than a real effort to combat violence.
Back in March, the Google-owned site lost millions when a number of major advertisers, including AT&T, Verizon, Pepsi, Walmart and Johnson & Johnson, pulled their ads after they reportedly appeared along side videos promoting hate, violence and even terrorism.
You can imagine a similar uproar right now if a company’s ad popped up next to a video on how to modify your firearm in the same way the Vegas shooter modified his.
Prohibiting gun modification videos isn’t the only change YouTube has made in the aftermath of the shooting. The site was forced to alter its search algorithm after users complained that the top results for the attack were videos promoting conspiracy theories.
The Wall Street Journal reports that the fifth result when searching “Las Vegas shooting” last Tuesday was a video titled “Proof Las Vegas Shooting Was a FALSE FLAG attack—Shooter on 4th Floor,” posted by a channel called End Times News Report.
While YouTube removed the video the following day, Jake Morphonios, who runs the channel, told the Wall Street Journal the post ended up gaining 2.5 million views as a result of being bumped to the first page.
YouTube reportedly knew its algorithm was flawed, and has been working on these changes for months. While there’s still a lot of work to be done, the site decided to roll out the changes early after receiving widespread criticism in the wake of the shooting.
What do you think of these changes? Is YouTube doing too much or not enough?