Nasim Aghdam has been identified as the woman who opened fire at YouTube headquarters in San Bruno, California, before shooting and killing herself. Aghdam was an American citizen of Iranian descent.
Aghdam, who used the name Nasime Sabz on her social media pages as an outspoken animal rights activist, had long claimed discrimination against her by YouTube censors.
On her website (nasimesabz.com)
, Aghdam claimed to have been responsible for the first Persian vegan TV commercial in 2010 and she called herself the first Persian vegan female body builder.
Her YouTube accounts in English, Farsi and Turkish have all been removed since the attack, as have her Instagram and Facebook pages. Many of her videos are available through other YouTube channels and Telegram. The videos mainly consist of vegan and animal rights messages including recipes and workouts, Aghdam dancing to traditional Iranian music and statements repeating her claim of censorship.
In one such video, where she spoke English in front of a background of six-point stars, Aghdam discussed censorship and showed clips of a workout video to which she claimed YouTube applied an age censor; the video has been removed from Youtube since, so this cannot be verified. She compared her video, in which she wore a long-sleeved top and mid-thigh-length shorts while performing ab exercises, to workout videos showing women in more revealing clothing and the music videos of Nikki Minaj. The videos she identified as "less appropriate" do not have an age restriction applied.
Aghdam said, "My new videos hardly get views and my old videos that used to get many views have stopped getting views. This is because I am getting filtered."
In another video she claimed that if people want to be promoted on social media, "never talk about moral and humane issues, never talk about your own beliefs. Otherwise, you will be discriminated [against] and censored. Growing your YouTube is not in your hands, it all depends on who is controlling your channel. If she or he likes your videos, then they will let your videos get views. Otherwise..." and the words "Your videos will be merely relegated" are displayed on the screen.
Aghdam also highlighted her claim that YouTube demonetized her account and failed to pay her for views she received.
Much of Aghdam's website is dedicated to YouTube censorship, but she also addressed other issues, writing, "Dictatorship exists in all countries but with different tactics! They only care for personal short term profits & do anything to reach their goals even by fooling simple-minded people, hiding the truth, manipulating science & everything, putting public mental & physical health at risk, abusing non-human animals, polluting environment, destroying family values, promoting materialism & sexual degeneration in the name of freedom,..... & turning people into programmed robots!"
The website also contains quotes about injustice from Einstein and Martin Luther King Jr., as well as one quote from Hitler: "Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it."
After the shooting, YouTube retweeted a letter of condolences and support sent by Google CEO Sundar Pichai to YouTube on Wednesday.
While many comments written on the post expressed support for victims of the shooting, several had a darker tone.
User Jhon Felix Francisco (@Ursiwave) responded, "looks like your hq got demonetized," an attitude that reoccurred as a common theme.
Some commenters took the middle road, like User Petra Jordan (@petrajordan1), who wrote, "You anger your users and an angry user? shows up. Feeling sorry for your employees but @youtube has been treading a pretty unfriendly path towards the very ppl thanks to which it exists. Time to reconsider your actions?"
Many tweets even bordered on sympathy with the shooter:
Aghdam's father told the San Jose Mercury News
that he had previously reported his daughter to the police after growing concerns of her anger toward YouTube for their censorship of her content.
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