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YouTube bans videos from US firearms retailer Brownells

YouTube took down videos from US firearms retailer Brownells without warning over the weekend as part of its ongoing crackdown on gun-related content.

But the video-sharing platform quickly changed its mind following pressure from the pro-gun lobby, restoring the channel’s content just 40 hours after it was removed.

YouTube began removing videos that promote the sale of firearms or accessories designed to turn them into automatic weapons earlier this year.

However, the company has repeatedly bowed to pressure from pro-gun activists, who have rallied around a number of high-profile firearms channels that have seen videos blocked.

YouTube took down videos from firearms retailer Brownells without warning over the weekend as part of its crackdown on gun-related clips. Brownells called for followers of its social media accounts to send complaints to Google, YouTube’s parent company, on Twitter (pictured)

Brownells, an 80-year-old gun supplies company based in Iowa, announced its channel – which boasts 68,000 subscribers – had gone down on Saturday morning at around 8:00am BST (3:00am ET).

The ban removed all Brownells videos, including those covering firearms maintenance, marksmanship, gun safety and hunting skills.

The firearms firm called for followers of its social media accounts to send complaints to Google, YouTube’s parent company, in a series of heated posts.

‘Brownells’ YouTube channel has been terminated without warning or notice,’ the firm wrote on its Twitter account.

‘If you’re opposed to the attacks on our community’s 1st & 2nd Amendment rights, please contact Google.’

Messages of support poured in from the pro-gun lobby on Twitter.

@ModerateRadical wrote: ‘@YouTube Bring Brownells videos back to Youtube. What responsible citizens like myself do for recreation should not be judged solely by the outliers. Don’t spread discrimination against legal gun-ownership. #brownells’.

But the video-sharing platform quickly changed its mind following pressure from the pro-gun lobby, re-instating the channel just 40 hours after it was removed.  User @ModerateRadical claimed the ban was an example of discrimination against legal gun-ownership

But the video-sharing platform quickly changed its mind following pressure from the pro-gun lobby, re-instating the channel just 40 hours after it was removed. User @ModerateRadical claimed the ban was an example of discrimination against legal gun-ownership

Messages of support poured in from second amendment advocates on Twitter. @jonst0kes tweeted: 'This is just wrong. Everyone who installs a part or does a repair uses these vids'

Messages of support poured in from second amendment advocates on Twitter. @jonst0kes tweeted: ‘This is just wrong. Everyone who installs a part or does a repair uses these vids’

@jonst0kes tweeted: ‘This is just wrong. Everyone who installs a part or does a repair uses these vids.

He added: ‘I gotta say something else about this. Brownells is like the stodgiest, old-schoolest, non-tactical, non-“assault rifle”, old-hunting-guy brand in the gun world. When your platform has summarily executed Brownells, you’ve just gone too far.’

At around 0:00am BST Monday (7:00pm ET, Sunday), Brownells announced its channel had been restored, just 40 hours after the account was first banned.

YouTube offered no explanation as to why it chose to ban and then bring back the Brownells channel. 

Brownells announced on Monday that its YouTube channel, which boasts 68,000 subscribers, had been restored just 40 hours after it was banned

Brownells announced on Monday that its YouTube channel, which boasts 68,000 subscribers, had been restored just 40 hours after it was banned

YouTube began removing videos that promote the sale of firearms or accessories designed to turn them into automatic weapons earlier this year. However, the company has repeatedly bowed to pressure from second amendment advocates (stock image)

YouTube began removing videos that promote the sale of firearms or accessories designed to turn them into automatic weapons earlier this year. However, the company has repeatedly bowed to pressure from second amendment advocates . (stock image)

The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

YouTube began to implement tighter restrictions on videos highlighting weapon sales, usage and handling in April.

The move was in response to mounting pressure from gun control activists in the wake of a series of recent mass shootings in the United States.

YouTube made the announcement in March, days before the March For Our Lives protests, which saw 800,000 activists call for gun control a month following the Parkland, Florida shooting that led to the deaths of 17 children.

YouTube began to implement tighter restrictions on videos highlighting weapon sales, usage and handling in April. The move was in response to mounting pressure from gun control activists in the wake of a series of recent mass shootings in the United States (stock image)

YouTube began to implement tighter restrictions on videos highlighting weapon sales, usage and handling in April. The move was in response to mounting pressure from gun control activists in the wake of a series of recent mass shootings in the United States (stock image)

‘We routinely make updates and adjustments to our enforcement guidelines across all of our policies,’  YouTube spokesperson 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, specifically, items like ammunition, gatling triggers, and drop-in auto sears.’

Popular firearms account Spike’s Tactical was suspended by YouTube in March, but was later re-instated by the video sharing platform.

InRange TV, a high-profile gun channel that is followed by 160,000 people, also saw its content taken offline in March only for YouTube to quickly rescind its decision.

WHAT HAS YOUTUBE DONE TO IMPROVE ITS MODERATION?

YouTube announced in December 2017 it would hire 10,000 extra human moderators people to monitor videos amid concerns too much offensive content was making it onto the site.

Susan Wojcicki, the chief executive of the video sharing site, revealed that YouTube enforcement teams had reviewed two million videos for extremist content over the preceding six months – removing 150,000 from the site.

Around 98 per cent of videos that were removed were initially flagged by the ‘computer learning’ algorithms.

Almost half were deleted within two hours of being uploaded, and 70 per cent were taken down within eight hours.

Miss Wojcicki added: ‘Our goal is to stay one step ahead, making it harder for policy-violating content to surface or remain on YouTube.

‘We will use our cutting-edge machine learning more widely to allow us to quickly remove content that violates our guidelines.’ 

Earlier this year, YouTube’s parent company Google has announced that from February 20, channels will need 1,000 subscribers and to have racked up 4,000 hours of watch time over the last 12 months regardless of total views, to qualify.

Previously, channels with 10,000 total views qualified for the YouTube Partner Program which allows creators to collect some income from the adverts placed before their videos. 

This threshold means a creator making a weekly ten-minute video would need 1,000 subscribers and an average of 462 views per video to start receiving ad revenue. 

This is the biggest change to advertising rules on the site since its inception – and is another attempt to prevent the platform being ‘co-opted by bad actors’ after persistent complaints from advertisers over the past twelve months. 

YouTube’s new threshold means a creator making a weekly ten-minute video would need 1,000 subscribers and an average of 462 views per video to start receiving ad revenue.



Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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