Little sympathy in Iran for YouTube shooter's frustration

Police tape is shown outside of a YouTube office building in San Bruno, Calif., Wednesday, April 4, 2018. A woman suspected of shooting three people at YouTube headquarters before killing herself was furious with the company because it had stopped paying her for videos she posted on the platform, her father said Tuesday, April 3, 2018. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

TEHRAN, Iran — The Iranian-American woman who opened fire at YouTube's headquarters this week appears to have lashed out after she felt the company had censored her often bizarre videos— a motive that many found perplexing in Iran, where YouTube, Facebook and Twitter are blocked.

Nasim Aghdam, who posted videos under the online name Nasime Sabz, opened fire at YouTube on Tuesday, wounding three people before killing herself. Her father said she was angry at the video-sharing website because it had stopped paying for her videos, which promoted exercise, animal rights and a vegan diet.

People who post on YouTube can receive money from advertisements that accompany their videos, but the company "de-monetizes" some channels for reasons including inappropriate material or having fewer than 1,000 subscribers.

Whatever obstacles she faced were dwarfed by those in Iran, where the government blocks YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, and where online content critical of authorities or Islam can land people in jail.

Hossein Naderi, a 23-year-old art student in Tehran, questioned why Aghdam chose to "live in the U.S., though she didn't like it there," adding: "I wish I was there to use YouTube freely."

Aghdam also ran a Farsi-language channel on the messaging app Telegram, which had 6,000 followers, but she was virtually unknown in Iran, where some 40 million people are believed to use the service. In one post she says: "Internet crackdown and filtering is increasing in the West."

Hamideh Heidari, a 35-year-old teacher in Tehran, said Aghdam needed "psychiatric help."

Kimia Shobeiri, 18, suggested the shooting, like Aghdam's prolific posts, was a ploy to get attention.

"She was insane and just wanted to make herself famous," she said. "With this act she damaged the reputation of Iranians."

The Farsi-language content Aghdam posted on Telegram would have been unlikely to attract a large following in Iran. One video was a tutorial on buttocks massage, and another featured a song praising Bahaism, a religion that originated in Iran but is heavily suppressed by the Islamic Republic.

Ghasem Mahmoudi, a kitchen utensils trader in Tehran, blamed the shooting on social media itself, where "anybody, without a background check, has a channel or whatever where he can broadcast ideas with no controls."

"This encourages any unbalanced person to see himself as a hero, or a prophet."

Must Read

Egypt parliament toughens penalties for female...

Aug 31, 2016

Egypt adopts penalties for female genital mutilation; perpetrators to get up to 7 years in prison,...

The Latest: Vatican expands criticism of Trump's...

Feb 1, 2017

The Latest: Vatican criticizes Trump's travel ban, newspaper says walls, travel bans go against...

AP Explains: Who are Egypt's Coptic Christians?

Apr 10, 2017

Egypt's Coptic Christians have become the preferred target of the Islamic State group, an...

Churches in southern Egypt will not celebrate...

Apr 11, 2017

Egyptian churches, in the southern city of Minya, say they will not hold Easter celebrations next...

Egypt moves bed, chariot of King Tut to new museum

May 23, 2017

Egypt has safely transported two unique items, a funerary bed and a chariot belonging to the famed...

Sign up now!

About Us

Welcome to the Daily Nomad, a peek into our nomadic lifestyle where you’ll learn more of our culture and live happy, wild, and free.

Contact us: sales[at]daily-nomad.com