YouTube, a popular media site for firearms enthusiasts, this week quietly introduced tighter restrictions on videos involving weapons, becoming the latest battleground in the gun-control debate.
The dedicated gun channel InRange TV expressed its frustration with YouTube’s new “extremely poorly worded and open ended” policy. According to InRange TV’s Facebook post, it recently deleted its AdSense account and has now decided to post content to PornHub in addition to YouTube, Full30, Facebook, and BitChute.
Bloomberg Technology reported while some may see YouTube’s new firearms policy as ambiguously worded, it’s the forthcoming implementation that will get the most reaction from firearms channels. Plenty of YouTubers have seen their content demonetized or removed due to the way YouTube’s algorithm and moderators filter out potentially offensive content and content that goes against Community Guidelines. It’s possible that gun-related videos that do not explicitly violate the new rules will get caught up in the first rounds of YouTube’s upcoming purge.
“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.”