YouTube bans videos promoting or selling guns and accessories

gun youtube policy hydropeek flickr

YouTube will ban videos that promote guns, gun accessories and educational videos on firearms, the company announced in a relatively silent update.

The company rewrote its policies regarding content featuring firearms, meaning that content creators will now have to think twice about uploading gun-related videos to the service.

YouTube will now prohibit videos that “intends to sell firearms or certain firearms accessories through direct sales” or attached links within the video itself. These accessories include automatic gun conversion kits — like bump stocks or gatling triggers — and high capacity magazines carrying in excess of 30 rounds.

The Google-owned video giant will also limit content that “provides instructions on manufacturing a firearm, ammunition, high capacity magazine, homemade silencers/suppressors, or certain firearms accessories” as mentioned above.

“This also includes instructions on how to convert a firearm to automatic or simulated automatic firing capabilities,” it adds.

The ban is notably wide-reaching too. Searching for “bump stock” provides in excess of 560 000 results, while “installing bump stocks” produces more than 62 000 related clips. “Gatling trigger” provides an additional 25 700 for perusal.

These numbers were noted today after YouTube had updated its policies.

Searching for the term ‘bump stock’ on YouTube still provides in excess of 560 000 results

Additionally, it’s not clear how Google will enforce these policies — whether it will employ a review team to specifically address firearm videos, or rely on users reporting videos that violate its policies.

Google on guns

This isn’t the first time Google has taken a stance on the promotion and sales of guns on its services.

In September 2015, the company restricted advertisements that feature select gun products, explosives and knives.

“We want to help keep people safe both online and offline, so we don’t allow the promotion of some products or services that cause damage, harm, or injury,” it wrote in the update.

Other companies have also began taking a more rigid stance on guns following the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in mid-February, which left 17 children dead, and 15 injured.

US shopping chains Dick’s Sporting Goods and Walmart also raised the minimum age required for gun purchases to 21.

According to the Gun Violence Archive — a nonprofit founded by former NRA member Mark Bryant — 364 people died in mass shootings in the United States in 2017. Overall, more than 60 000 gun-related incidents were noted, claiming more than 15 000 lives.

Feature image: hydropeek via Flickr (CC 2.0 BY)

Andy Walker
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