YouTube expands firearms restrictions – More gun videos to be banned

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.

YouTube will ban videos that promote or link to websites selling firearms and accessories.Additionally, YouTube said it will prohibit videos with instructions on how to assemble firearms.
YouTube released the following statememt“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.”
These restrictions come over a month after the school shooting in Parkland, Florida and just a few days before the March for Our Lives rally organized by the student survivors of the Parkland shooting. YouTube took similar action after the Las Vegas shooting last year by banning gun-modification tutorials.
While the policy won’t be fully in effect until April, a few gun channels claim to have already been affected. The firearms company Spike’s Tactical wrote in an Instagram post that it had been banned from YouTube due to “repeated or severe violations” of YouTube’s Community Guidelines.

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.

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.”




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