Gun-rights groups on Friday criticized the video sharing website YouTube for its new policy banning videos showcasing legal gun activity.
YouTube, which is reeling from its decision to demonetize many of the creators on its platform and its own algorithm promoting bizarre sexualized child abuse videos to millions of viewers, decided this week it would censor all videos that depict the legal assembling or modifying of firearms or which link to websites that sell firearms. The site had already banned the channel of firearms manufacturer Spike's Tactical before later reinstating it. The site described the new bans as a routine change of guidelines.
Gun-rights groups described the move as politically-motivated censorship.
"YouTube is now in the business of political posturing and censorship," Chris Cox, head of the National Rifle Association's Institute for Legislative Action, said in a statement. "Millions of Americans watch YouTube videos every day to learn more about the safe and responsible use of firearms, and those videos show law-abiding gun owners participating in lawful behavior. By banning this content, YouTube is engaging in politically motivated censorship and alienating the millions of people who turn to the website for education and training. Currently, anyone can go to YouTube and watch a video to learn how to make a bomb, yet the company wants to ban videos depicting lawful gun use? It's absurd."
The National Shooting Sports Foundation, the firearms industry's trade group, said it is concerned the new policy will target the gun makers and sellers that make up its membership.
"YouTube's announcement this week of a new firearms content policy is troubling," the group said in a message to its membership. "We suspect it will be interpreted to block much more content than the stated goal of firearms and certain accessory sales. Especially worrisome is the potential for blocking educational content that serves an instructional and skill-building purpose. YouTube's policy announcement has also served to invite political activists to flood their review staff with complaints about any video to which they may proffer manufactured outrage."
They said the actions amount to an attack on the Second Amendment.
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