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YouTube Toughens Gun Videos Policy, Bans Instructionals On Removing Firearm Safety Devices


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YouTube is tightening its policy on firearm-related videos to protect underage users from potentially harmful content. Starting June 18, the platform will prohibit videos instructing viewers on how to remove firearm safety devices. Additionally, videos showcasing homemade guns, automatic weapons, and certain firearm accessories like silencers will be restricted to users aged 18 and older.

These changes come in response to persistent calls from gun safety advocates urging the platform to shield young users from content that could traumatize them or lead to dangerous behavior. YouTube already bans content that intends to sell firearms, instructs on making firearms, or includes livestreams of people handling guns. However, the platform acknowledged that some content, while not in direct violation of its policies, may still be inappropriate for minors. Exceptions will be made for videos of public interest, such as news clips or police activity involving firearms.

Katie Paul, director of the Tech Transparency Project, welcomed the policy update but criticized the delay in its implementation. She emphasized the need for effective enforcement, stating, “Firearms are the number one cause of death for children and teens in America. As always with YouTube, the real proof of change is whether the company enforces the policies it has on the books.”

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg also highlighted the issue last month, urging YouTube to halt the proliferation of firearm-related videos to young users. Bragg praised the new policy, noting the direct impact of such content on community safety.

YouTube spokesperson Javier Hernandez stated that the policy changes are designed to address new developments, such as the increased availability of 3D-printed guns. He emphasized that YouTube regularly reviews its guidelines and consults with experts to ensure appropriate content moderation.

YouTube, alongside TikTok, remains one of the most popular sites for children and teens. Both platforms have faced scrutiny for hosting and sometimes promoting content that encourages gun violence, eating disorders, and self-harm. Recent mass shootings have highlighted the role of social media in glorifying violence and broadcasting attacks, underscoring the importance of robust content policies to protect users, especially minors, from potentially harmful material.

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