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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 September 2018

YouTube shooter believed she was being 'suppressed' by company

Nasim Aghdam injured three people before turning the gun on herself

An undated handout photo made available by San Bruno Police Department in San Bruno, California, USA, 04 April 2018 showing Nasim Aghdam aged 39. San Bruno Police Department handout / EPA
An undated handout photo made available by San Bruno Police Department in San Bruno, California, USA, 04 April 2018 showing Nasim Aghdam aged 39. San Bruno Police Department handout / EPA

A woman who claimed she was being suppressed by YouTube opened fire at the company’s headquarters in California on Tuesday, injuring three people before turning the gun on herself.

The three victims, a 36-year-old man, a 32-year-old woman and 27-year-old woman, are being treated at San Francisco General Hospital. A spokesman for the hospital said on Wednesday the 36-year-old man is in a critical condition.

The shooter Nasim Aghdam, 39, is not believed to have targeted the three people injured specifically.

Police said the motivation for the attack was not clear, although Ms Aghdam had previously told her family she “hated” YouTube and had posted messages criticising the site.

Ms Aghdam was reported missing by her father on Monday, who told a local news outlet he had warned police she might go to YouTube, which is based in San Bruno, south of San Francisco.

Police confirmed the now-deceased shooter had been found sleeping in her car in a parking lot approximately 48 kilometres away from the headquarters at 2am on Tuesday. Officers let her go as she did not appear to be a threat to herself or anyone else, a spokeswoman for the police said.

A law enforcement official said Ms Aghdam used the name "Nasime Sabz" online. A website in that name argued YouTube was trying to “suppress” its content creators.

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Read more: YouTube campus shooting ends with suspect dead and four injured

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Messages on the site read: "Youtube filtered my channels to keep them from getting views!

“There is no equal growth opportunity on YOUTUBE or any other video sharing site, your channel will grow if they want to!!!!!"

Ms Aghdam posted about issues such as veganism and animal cruelty alongside exercise videos and glamour shots of herself.

YouTubers can make money through advertisements that accompany their videos. However, the company reserves the right to "de-monetise" channels that show inappropriate material or have fewer than 1,000 subscribers.

YouTube staff members described the scene as a gunwoman started firing at people in the courtyard on the campus.

"It was a woman and she was firing her gun. And I just said, 'Shooter,' and everybody started running," Dianna Arnspiger said, who was on the building's second floor when she heard gunshots.

While Vadim Lavrusik, a product manager at YouTube, tweeted that he and his co-workers had been barricaded inside a room. In an updated Twitter post, he wrote: “Safe. Got evacuated. Outside now.”

YouTube is owned by tech giant Google and more than 1,000 employees work in several buildings at the headquarters in Silicon Valley.

"Today it feels like the entire community of YouTube, all of the employees, were victims of this crime," said Chris Dale, a spokesman for YouTube.

While CEO Susan Wojcicki wrote on Twitter that the YouTube would "come together to heal as a family."

The shooting has reignited the ongoing debate on gun control, with tech firm CEOs calling for stricter rules.

Twitter's Jack Dorsey and Uber's Dara Khosrowshahi both tweeted messages of support after the attack, while appealing for an end to gun violence.

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