With the possible exception of the police, the military and security personnel, no one expects to be forced to flee gunfire in the middle of their work schedule. But that was the experience of YouTube employees on Tuesday (3): a woman invaded the company building, opened fire on several people, injured at least three and was soon found dead, apparently by suicide.
As everyone tries to recover from the shock, the following questions arise: why? What determined the woman to act with such violence? Who was the shooter, after all?
Although there are many details to know, the authorities already know that the woman’s name was Nasim Aghdam, she was 38 years old (and will be 39 years old tomorrow), she was of Iranian origin and lived in San Diego.
Nasim Aghdam had at least four channels in Youtube , all closed. In one of them, she described herself as an athlete, vegan, promoter of a healthy lifestyle and defender of animals. Together, the channels had no more than 100,000 subscribers. However, all indications are that the publication of the videos was Aghdam’s main activity.
Some videos received hundreds of thousands of views and would have received significant pay as a result. However, in more recent posts, Aghdam complained about the demonetization of some videos and the systematic reduction of their scope.
In fact, YouTube has promoted changes to its platform in recent months to avoid losing advertisers – many do not want their brands to be associated with controversial videos – and scandals like Logan Paul, a young man who posted a video about a dead man in Aokigahara, the «suicide forest» of Japan.
Screenshots of the YouTuber channel
Aghdam knew about the changes, but was said to be discriminated against because the channels of artists such as Nicki Minaj and Miley Cyrus posted videos with explicit content, but did not suffer any consequences for it. In one of the videos, he says that his Persian channel was «attacked»: the newer posts were not monetized while the older ones had limited access.
Although Nasim Aghdam’s YouTube channels have been removed, you can find posts on his site with complaints about YouTube and falling wages. In a screenshot, he complains that he received only $ 0.10 for more than 350,000 video views on his channel during the 28 days.
On the same page, you can find links to several videos that Nasim Aghdam posted on Dailymotion (videos were blocked while this was being posted). In general, these posts had low image quality, amateur editing and a lot of eccentricity.
Nasim Aghdam’s growing dislike of YouTube has also been noticed by people close to him. Ismail Aghdam, her father, told authorities that his daughter was upset on the platform for lowering wages.
There are indications that the father was already worried about Nasim’s possible drastic attitude. On Monday (2), Ismail Aghdam called the police to report his missing daughter after two days without being able to contact her by phone. A few hours later, police found her sleeping in a car parked in the Mountain View area of California.
When the family realized that Nasim Aghdam was near the YouTube building in San Bruno (about 25 km away), they called the police again, but to warn him that he could go to the company and do something wrong, he said Ismail Aghdam: «You should look at her.»
Whether the police were alerted or whether the alleged warning was taken seriously are details that are still being investigated, but the fact is that Nasim Aghdam went to the YouTube headquarters. He allegedly shot a cafe on the ground floor of the building, a point with few access restrictions.
The victims are in a hospital in San Francisco. One of them, a 36-year-old man, is in critical condition, according to the latest information.
With information: BBC, CNET, Heavy.