It was far too easy for a disgruntled content creator to walk onto YouTube’s property in San Bruno, California, last April and open fire on employees in a courtyard. The incident shone a bright light on existing security issues built into Silicon Valley’s open campus culture. Big tech companies have long desired to create a workplace that attracts the best talent, and this has involved creating work spaces where Millennials feel comfortable. That said, it’s clear that going forward, there needs to be a better balance between those incidental benefits and creating a safe, secure, and compliant workplace.
According to a report by Greg Sandoval at Business Insider, the management team at YouTube has been in talks with San Bruno’s community development director, David Woltering, regarding expansion plans that include needed security upgrades. Woltering confirmed the discussions between YouTube and his staff regarding the “various measures to better secure points of access to their facilities” in the city, including “fencing, increased surveillance, and improved access controls.”
While YouTube did not provide comment for the story, the security upgrades and campus expansion appear to coincide with extensive development plans for the area around its campus, including adding office space and parking areas, as the company plans to add thousands to its workforce.
Sandoval notes that YouTube had taken steps to beef up its security following the April shooting at its campus by increasing the amount of on-site security personnel. With this announcement, that move appears to be more of a stop-gap than a permanent change.
The announcement of security upgrades also coincides with increased acrimony directed at social media sites and the mainstream media. There has been an increasing number of threats made singling out numerous outlets, YouTube included. Sandoval included one tweet in his piece that called Google, Facebook, and YouTube “cowardly leftist criminals,” referring to their removal of content posted by a particularly vocal conspiracy theorist.
In the past, some of his followers have taken actions regarding these conspiracies, such as blockading a bridge in a homemade armored vehicle while armed with an AR-15 and a handgun demanding the release of a government report and walking into a D.C. pizza shop armed with an AR-15 demanding the release of children held as sex slaves by members of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign staff. While no one was hurt in either incident, as the rhetoric heats up, the chances of violence increase.