YouTube introduces stricter policy on guns in videos to protect youth

Christopher "Chris Must List" Hughes. - Photo courtesy Christopher Hughes' Instagram page

POPULAR online video platform YouTube says from June 18, it will be introducing stricter policies on the appearance of guns in videos in efforts to protect young people.

In a public notice a few days ago, the company said content showing the use of homemade firearms, automatic firearms, and certain firearm accessories will be age-restricted.

This means users under 18 will not be able to view it.

The company’s terms of service says you must be 13 years old to create an account on the platform.

The notice added, “Content intended to sell firearms, instruct viewers on how to make firearms, ammunition, and certain accessories, or instruct viewers on how to install those accessories is not allowed on YouTube.”

It said YouTube should not be used as a platform for selling firearms or related accessories.

“YouTube also doesn’t allow live streams that show someone holding, handling, or transporting a firearm.”

In addition to intended sales, the company said content should not be posted to provide instructions on manufacturing guns or ammunition, or accessories that convert a firearm to “automatic fire,” as well as instructing how to remove certain firearm safety devices. These devices, they explained, include ones that limit the release of a magazine.

“This does not include removal of a device used to temporarily disable a weapon like a gun lock.

“Please note this is not a complete list.”

It added that while some content does not violate its policies, it may not be appropriate for children.

Now age-restricted are videos showing homemade guns, accessories that enable guns to simulate automatic fire, high-capacity magazines and homemade silencers/suppressors.

“These guidelines apply to real use of firearms and may not apply, for example, to use of firearms in artistic content such as a film. We may also make exceptions for public interest content such as military or police footage, news footage, or footage from warzones.”

At least three YouTubers have recently visited TT and, among other things, highlighted gang culture and violence. Canadian vlogger Christopher “Chris Must List” Hughes had the most videos of that nature, including civilians with guns. He has since been arrested and charged with sedition and is now out on $100,000 bail. His next court appearance is Thursday.

When he was arrested, Newsday had e-mailed YouTube asking what its current policy was on videos showing guns, and mentioned Hughes’s situation. To date, no response has been provided.

In the notice, YouTube said if these policies are violated, the content will be removed and the uploader will be notified in the first instance. The uploader will have the opportunity to undergo policy training to let the warning expire after 90 days.

However, the company warned if there is another violation within that timeframe, the channel will receive a “strike.” Three strikes in 90 days will cause the channel to be terminated.

“We may also terminate your channel or account after a single case of severe abuse, or when the channel is dedicated to a policy violation. We may prevent repeat offenders from taking policy trainings in the future.”


"YouTube introduces stricter policy on guns in videos to protect youth"

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