YouTube CEO addresses video creators for first time since gun attack on its headquarters

Steve Jennings/Getty Images for TechCrunchYouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki.
  • YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki addressed the site’s video creators in a blog post for the first time since a shooting attack on the company’s headquarters.
  • She recognised that YouTube’s efforts to purge site of offensive material was hard on some creators

For the first time since the shooting at YouTube headquarters earlier this month, CEO Susan Wojcicki addressed the video service’s creator community and spoke about the future.

On April 3, 38-year-old Nasim Aghdam opened fire on YouTube employees with a handgun, wounding three before killing herself. Police have concluded that Aghdam, a YouTube video creator, embarked on her rampage after her clips had seen a decline in viewers and advertising revenue. Prior to the shooting, Aghdam made unfounded accusations that YouTube’s goal was to censor her and ruin her life.

In this post shooting atmosphere, Wojcicki, named YouTube’s CEO four years ago, directed a blog post to the creator community. She began by thanking them.

“As you can imagine, the last two weeks have been incredibly difficult for the people who work at YouTube, myself included,” she wrote. “As challenging as the experience has been for our YouTube family, the outpouring of support and kindness from creators has bolstered our spirits.”

The relationship between YouTube and some of the people who make and post videos to the site has been volatile for a long time, but has come under even more stress since March 2017. That’s when YouTube began waging a campaign to remove materials that advertisers might find objectionable. This led to the loss of viewers, subscribers and ad revenue for some creators and fostered resentment.

In a story published on Monday in Business Insider, former YouTube employees outlined a longtime problem at YouTube. Anytime YouTube alters the service, even innocuous changes, some creators become furious and irrational. Some even take out their frustrations by threatening YouTube staffers with violence.

After thanking creators, Wojcicki in her post then recognised that YouTube’s clean-up campaign was hard on a lot of creators.

“We know the last year has not been easy for many of you,” she wrote. “In February, we made the tough decision to set a new eligibility criteria to monetise on YouTube. While we know some creators found this change frustrating, it strengthened advertiser confidence, making monetisation and the broader community on YouTube stronger for creators building their business on the platform.

“For those who have not yet met the new threshold,” she added, “keep creating and building your audience.”

Wojcicki also said YouTube would continue to look for ways to improve communication with creators and enable them to strengthen ties to viewers. She credited new moderation tools, which enable a creator see comments before they go live, for helping to reduce abuse and spam on the platform.

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