Tuesday, August 8, 2023

Armslist YouTube Channel Shut Down

On the day AmmoLand News disclosed President Joe Biden's efforts to curtail private gun sales and the websites supporting such sales, the Armslist YouTube Channel was abruptly closed by YouTube.

AmmoLand News received a direct statement from YouTube indicating the reason for the channel's shutdown. They cited "facilitation" of gun sales as the cause, which breaches YouTube's terms of service (TOS). YouTube's TOS explicitly bans the sale of firearms or any linkage to such advertisements.

A representative from YouTube conveyed to AmmoLand News, "Our team consistently evaluates content against our community standards. The channel in question was removed for breaching our rules that forbid the direct firearm sales on our platform. We apply our policies uniformly and take action against channels that consistently defy our guidelines or primarily host infringing content."

While the Armslist website features ads for those interested in selling firearms, the Armslist YouTube channel neither facilitated sales nor provided links to the main Armslist site. Their recent content was an instructional video on rifle spray painting - a subject matter that many other videos on YouTube address without breaking any TOS.

YouTube employs a system of strikes against channels. Any channel accruing three strikes within a span of 90 days risks termination. However, when Armslist's channel was taken down, it hadn't received any active strikes. This has raised eyebrows, as YouTube appeared to bypass their typical protocol in this instance.

Previously, YouTube closed several channels centered around DIY firearms. This decision was influenced by a list provided by NBC News, highlighting these channels. Recently, a New York Times article discussed Armslist, leading to speculation that this coverage influenced YouTube's decision.

In the past, YouTube acknowledged taking channel recommendations from broadcasters like NBC. However, for the Armslist case, they assert their decision was independent. A notable point is that many of YouTube's content reviewers are based outside the U.S., potentially leading to misunderstandings regarding U.S. firearms regulations. Such cultural nuances might cause discrepancies in content evaluation.

Content creators on the platform have voiced concerns about the vague nature of YouTube's firearm-related guidelines. The platform's seemingly shifting stance creates a challenging environment for creators to remain compliant. 

While there are alternative platforms more receptive to Second Amendment rights, their user base pales in comparison to YouTube's vast audience. Moving away from YouTube can limit the exposure of firearm-centric channels, which aligns with the objectives of certain anti-gun factions.

It's crucial for diverse voices to be present across all social media platforms. Restricting ourselves to niche platforms can be counterproductive. YouTube, being a dominant player in video sharing, is pivotal in influencing public opinion. 

Jonathan Gibbons is in the process of challenging the termination of the Armslist YouTube channel.

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