After the recent mass shooting in Las Vegas, YouTube has decided to expand a policy that prohibits harmful or dangerous content to include videos demonstrating bump stocks. A bump stock is a device that uses recoil to slide the firearm back and forth, engaging the trigger each time the weapon kicks forward.
Fully legal under current US law, bump stocks are an inexpensive way to allow a semi-automatic rifle to operate similarly to a fully automatic weapon that would be difficult for regular citizens to obtain. Following the discovery that Stephen Paddock used a bump stock in Las Vegas, even the NRA has been willing to negotiate potential restrictions.
According to YouTube, the ban is not a new rule. All videos containing instructional material on bump stock use were always against community guidelines. However, there were no issues with videos being flagged prior to the Las Vegas massacre and channel owners were not notified of any wrongdoing until recently.
While it may seem like a clear case for YouTube, this selective enforcement of policy does raise some questions. For example, where does "for educational purposes" stop and the intent of harm begin?
YouTube is still a private business that has the right to moderate any content on its website as the company sees fit but with concerns of foreign influence still lingering, any censorship of content could result in backlash from users (including content creators) for attempting to sway public opinion.