Employees who worked at YouTube say threats from volatile and financially dependent ‘creators’ has been going on for years (GOOG, GOOGL)


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The attack on YouTube by Nasim Aghdam may be isolated act by a disturbed person but former employees say workers receive threats anytime major changes are made to the site.
YouTube’s management stationed an armed guard outside one employee’s house a decade ago after a user threatened her and her family.
Former employees say Facebook, Twitter or any other platform that offers a chance at notoriety should be concerned with implications of Aghdam’s case.

YouTube managers had no way to predict Nasim Aghdam would go on a bloody rampage, but they had plenty of reasons to fear that someone like her might one day show up, say former employees.

Aghdam was the 38-year-old, disgruntled YouTube video creator who arrived at the company’s San Bruno, Calif.–headquarters on April 3 and began blasting away with a 9mm handgun. She wounded three staffers before she killed herself. Police say leading up to the shooting Aghdam, from San Diego, Calif., believed YouTube sought to censor her and ruin her life.

This kind of violence is unprecedented in YouTube’s 13-year-history, though Aghdam’s anger and paranoia aren’t unique among the millions of people who create and post videos to the site, according to five former YouTube employees. In exclusive interviews, they told Business Insider that going back to the service’s earliest days, frustrated creators — seething over one of YouTube’s policy changes or the other — have threatened staffers with violence.

Typically the threats were delivered via email. At least once, a video creator confronted a YouTube employee face-to-face and promised he would “destroy” him. In another instance, a man enraged by the suspension of his account, promised to harm Mia Quagliarello, YouTube’s first community manager, and her family. The person created a crude web page that was filled with menacing images and slurs against Quagliarello and her family. In an interview, Quagliarello said company managers considered the situation serious enough to station an armed guard outside her home for three days.

“I forwarded (the threats) to Google security and they took it super seriously,” said Quagliarello, who worked at YouTube from 2006 to 2011. “They sent over someone, like an ex-cop type, to sit on my block, like 24-7.”

Neither Google, which owns YouTube, nor YouTube responded to requests for comment.

Before Aghdam arrived, all the threats turned out to be just that: threats. All the employees interviewed said they knew of no other time when a creator tried to physically harm a YouTube employee. At this point, the indications are that Aghdam’s attack was the kind of event that has become all too familiar in American society: an isolated act committed by a person with a shaky grip on reality.

People who may have developed an unhealthy dependency isn’t a problem exclusive to YouTube, the former employees said. At least three of those interviewed have worked at some of the other top social networks and say employees there have also received threats.

As online services like Facebook, YouTube and Snapchat have emerged as

Source:: Business Insider

      

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