Talking Back to Social Media Platforms – the Brownells Case

By Larry Keane,

Youtube Censorship Nazi's Terminate Brownells' Video Account
Youtube Censorship Nazi's Terminate Brownells' Video Account

U.S.A.-(Ammoland.com)- Brownells is a well-known supplier of firearms accessories, gun parts and gunsmithing tools. Visitors to the company’s YouTube page this past weekend were greeted with an all too familiar statement. Yet another channel had been shut off without warning. That’s it. End of conversation. Nearly 69,000 subscribers were just out of luck.

At least, that’s what the minders at YouTube expected. They didn’t expect the business to issue a social media call to arms. Gun owners and rights supporters quickly engaged and pushed back. They were heard and by Monday morning, Brownells announced their YouTube channel was back up and running.

We’re glad to see that Brownells is back up and sharing their how-to videos, being a go-to source for those who want to ensure they’re safely and responsibly improving their firearms and the way they handle and store them.

So, what was Brownells’ offense? YouTube’s notification only said, “This account has been terminated for violating YouTube’s Community Guidelines.” This despite Brownells having passed content standards review as recently as March.

Brownells spokesman Ryan Repp told the Des Moines Register it wasn’t clear what warranted the shutdown, noting that Brownells received warnings from YouTube over their 10 years of hosting the channel, but each was overturned. Repp added, “It sure appears to be a systemic bias against the firearms industry.”

But, the Des Moines Register did note that owner and CEO Pete Brownell, aside from being an NSSF member, also served for several years on the board of the National Rifle Association and recently completed his tenure as president.

YouTube’s move even left the founder of Ars Techica and former Wired editor Jon Stokes scratching his head. He’s plugged into all things in the tech world and he couldn’t make the connection to any community standard that would have possibly posed a hazard.

Stokes tweeted, “I gotta say something else about this. Brownells is like the stodgiest, old-schoolest, non-tactical, non- ‘assault rifle’, old-hunting-guy brand in the gun world. When your platform has summarily executed Brownells, you’ve just gone too far.”

This isn’t the first time gun rights and social media gatekeepers have clashed. NSSF challenged YouTube parent company Google on their anti-gun policies as early as 2012. Just this week, Google’s Adwords reportedly banned words including “gun grips” and “scopes and sights.” Last year, NSSF retail member The Sportsman’s Shop’s Jessica Keffer went on Fox and Friends to explain how their American flag advertising promotion ran afoul of Facebook minders.

Some in Congress are taking note and putting social media giants on notice. Congressman Richard Hudson (R-N.C.) submitted questions for the record after Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg appeared before Congress. He wanted answers about the social media platform’s policies concerning user data protection and practices including discrimination against conservative political opinion and certain businesses.

U.S. Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) referred the Keffer’s case as “conservative bias” (Watch 1:43:40 – 1:44:43). The U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) said he would “take whatever steps necessary to obtain answers directly.”

For as much monitoring as the social media platforms are doing, in this case, one of them actually listened to the Brownells supporters, even if it was only after the Twitter complaints started to pile up. The Brownells case reminds us why we must all remain vigilant – and be willing to speak up.


About NSSFNational Shooting Sports Foundation

The National Shooting Sports Foundation is the trade association for the firearms industry. Its mission is to promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports. Formed in 1961, NSSF has a membership of more than 6,000 manufacturers, distributors, firearms retailers, shooting ranges, sportsmen's organizations and publishers. For more information, log on to www.nssf.org.

About BrownellsBrownells : http://goo.gl/cJ1FMM

Serious About Firearms Since 1939™, Brownells is the world’s leading source for gun parts and accessories, ammunition, gunsmithing tools and survival gear. With a large selection of both common and hard-to-find items, and an extensive collection of videos, articles, and gun schematics, Brownells is the expert for everything shooting-related. Committed to maintaining our great traditions, Brownells has more, does more and knows more – and guarantees it all, Forever. For more information or to place an order, call 800-741-0015 or visit Brownells.com. Stay up-to-date with Brownells on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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Byrd007DaveWPa JohnTimothy VotawRobert J. Lucas Recent comment authors
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Byrd007
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Byrd007

What about all the smaller channels/content creators that don’t have Brownells public support but nonetheless abide the policies and dictums handed down by the Masters of the Universe? Who’s going to stand up for them and create a backlash?

If you’re not scared yet about the unheard of consolidation of power being amassed in silicon valley then you’re not paying attention.

Pa John
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Pa John

Leftists in government WANT the power to tax and regulate the internet into submission. Net Neutrality was the foot in the door to gaining that power to regulate, regulate, regulate away all the nasty (to them) alternative media that keeps blowing up their best laid plans, and that gets outsiders like Trump elected and which allowed that damned Net Neutrality lie to expire. Alternative media is where conservatism and liberty itself shines, out in the freedom of competitive free markets. I’d be very careful of falling into the well disguised trap of actually calling for government to “do something” about… Read more »

Timothy Votaw
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Timothy Votaw

Yet more proof that a revolution of one sort or another is imminent. I wonder what those of us who stand with the Constitution and the Republic will do once it begins. It IS a very strong likelihood.

Robert J. Lucas
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Robert J. Lucas

I am also an Anti-, An Anti-Socialist, Anti-Marxist, Anti-Communist.
Anti-Americans need to be dropped into the meat grinder of humanity throughout the rest of the world’s countries to see how well they could fend with their Anti-Whateverism’s that they promote.

BILL
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BILL

And right there is the biggest problem we ha e. We only worry or do something about something when it effects something WE like or watch or do or own or are interested in . What about the hundreds of other gun channels that ha e already been shut down? Oh, you didn’t watch those. What about bump stocks? Oh, you didn’t own one of those. What about this? What about That? Oh, you didn’t own this or do That? Well then, who cares, it won’t affect you so why do anything right. We are the most divided bunch of… Read more »

DaveW
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DaveW

Division is the progressives favorite tool. Obama spent 8 years dividing the nation into factions (and he and his cronies like Gore and Kerry are still at it). We must pull it together of face losing it all. I do not fully agree with everything the NRA professes, but they are the most prominent pro 2A organization. There are others that are just not a visible. The NRA should seek to affiliate with every possible pro 2A organization, gun club, ets., in every state. They should all band together as one voice, in a separate and new organization. They should… Read more »

n.r.ringlee
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n.r.ringlee

Totalitarianism happens when the power of the state convinces people to fear their own liberty and fear each other. True totalitarianism flourishes when the state no longer need lift a finger to suppress opposition. We will oppress each other by denunciation and thug behavior. This is where we are headed.

Douglas Kuykendall
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Douglas Kuykendall

All the gun companies,supporting companies have the money to start their own you tube. They would not have to worry about getting shut down. Al these companies like you-tube are communist and it would be hard to change them in lnless you take a page out of the communist play book an threaten boycott an law suits which could possibly work

Mr. Walkker
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Mr. Walkker

Boobe Tube is an abusive Company. Anti-American as plain as day.

John Balazek
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John Balazek

This Domestic Enemy Media Monopoly needs to be destroyed!!!

Mike the Limey
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Mike the Limey

YouTube recently terminated Bloke on the Range, a channel dedicated largely to obsolete & historical firearms & for a similar “non reason”.
Thankfully, despite being one of the “little guys” he was backed up by some bigger players & he too has had his channel restored.
This is nothing but a premeditated campaign against firearms ownership.

Jay Dee
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Jay Dee

Idiot-Signalling. YouTube was signalling that they were very useful idiots.