YouTube steps further into the political arena by introducing further restrictions on firearms videos

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YouTube has stepped further into the debate surrounding gun control by introducing new restrictions on weapon-related videos on its platform.

The move sees Google nailing its political colors to the mast, and it's a move that's likely to anger Republicans and the NRA, and lead to further allegations of a liberal bias. Under the new policies, videos that promote or link to sites selling firearms and accessories are banned, as well as those that show how to make weapons at home.

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YouTube's new policies come in the wake of the Parkland shooting earlier in the year, and it's not the first time video restrictions have been introduced following a shooting. The policies are due to come into force in April, but some YouTubers say that they are already being subjected to greater restrictions on their content -- something which has resulted in some channels switching allegiances from YouTube to PornHub as their platform of choice.

The policies also ban videos that show how to make guns and accessories such as bump stocks:

Policies on content featuring firearms

YouTube prohibits certain kinds of content featuring firearms. Specifically, we don't allow content that:

  • Intends to sell firearms or certain firearms accessories through direct sales (e.g., private sales by individuals) or links to sites that sell these items. These accessories include but may not be limited to accessories that enable a firearm to simulate automatic fire or convert a firearm to automatic fire (e.g., bump stocks, gatling triggers, drop-in auto sears, conversion kits), and high capacity magazines (i.e., magazines or belts carrying more than 30 rounds).
  • Provides instructions on manufacturing a firearm, ammunition, high capacity magazine, homemade silencers/suppressors, or certain firearms accessories such as those listed above. This also includes instructions on how to convert a firearm to automatic or simulated automatic firing capabilities.
  • Shows users how to install the above-mentioned accessories or modifications.

A spokeswoman for YouTube said to Bloomberg:

We routinely make updates and adjustments to our enforcement guidelines across all of our policies. 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.

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