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The Instagram-YouTube Problem

Let’s play a game - the parameters for the game are as follows:

Purpose - You are an Individual or Group that wishes to share your information and lessons learned from an accumulative lifetime in your niche.

Goal - You want others to be more informed/equipped.

End-state - You want enough people to be informed/equipped that you have an impact on the professionalism and effectiveness of your niche.

To take this out of the abstract: We (Pseudo Civilian) want to have a positive impact on the quantity, and quality of people within the 2 Amendment / Prepper / Grey-man / Minuteman / Prepared-Civilian / SHTF / Tactical (whatever-the-fuck you want to call yourself) community.

One of the first things you must decide in this game is, how do we spread our message?

There are plenty of options; some better, some worse. We could stand on a soapbox in our town center and that may constitute a success for our goal, but not our end-state. We could condense our ideas into a book, but that's the same problem, not enough reach and appeal. So, to the internet we go.

Online we have a few options, Instagram is good at photos, YouTube is good at videos, our own website is good at text, Twitter is good at none of the above, and TikTok makes me want to get a vasectomy. The problem with these platforms, especially the bigger ones like YouTube with its 2.5 Billion active users and Instagram with its 1.5 Billion active users [1], is that they actively censor these communities or content with firearms. Explicitly, Youtube and Instagram have community guidelines/policies that state something to the tune of:

‘There is to be no content that sells firearms and firearm accessories, and no content that shows how to modify semi-automatic firearms into automatic weapons. Any content that breaks these rules will be removed and there will be strikes against the creator.’ [2]

At face value that's a good rule and not one that affects us, however, let's not take things at face value. In order to delve deeper we need to understand four things: Algorithms, strikes, shadow-bans, and bans. If you are unfamiliar with these concepts then please go to the relevant citation [3]. If you have been around long enough then you will be able to think of situations where creators in our niche have been affected. If you haven't then we recommend you follow a page called ‘cursedweapons’, and watch their futile attempts to stay in the good graces of the Instagram algorithm despite their zero real violations.

So Instagram and YouTube have the most reach of any platform, however, either intentionally or not, they censor our particular niche. That leaves us with four options:

1. Use mainstream platforms and deal with strikes and bans.

Not a very enticing option, we don't think we need to explain it.

2. Use mainstream platforms and self censor.

This is the best in terms of reach, we can passively spread through the algorithm and gain traction with minimal pushback, however, the cost is that we must limit our content.

3. Use alternate platforms (Rumble is a common YouTube alternative).

Not great for reach, however, we can publish our material freely (until the alternative platform becomes as restrictive as YouTube/Instagram).

4. Use mainstream platforms in conjunction with our own website.

Potentially the best balance we can achieve. The reach of YouTube and Instagram with the freedom of our own platform. We must still abide by various internet and counter-terrorism legislation[4], but that is not the hardest to do.

We chose option 4. You may have chosen differently, if you did, let us know how that option performed. We don’t think there is a correct answer. Hopefully with this context you can understand our decision.




“Instagram is not a place to support or praise terrorism, organized crime, or hate groups.” “...selling firearms, alcohol, and tobacco products between private individuals, and buying or selling non-medical or pharmaceutical drugs are also not allowed.”

“Sell firearms or certain firearms accessories through direct sales (e.g. private sales by individuals) or links to sites that sell these items.”

“Provide instructions on manufacturing any of the following: Firearms, Ammunition, High capacity magazines, Homemade silencers/suppressors, Accessories that enable a firearm to simulate automatic fire …”


Algorithms are a computer process that happens in the background when you use the internet and platforms like Instagram and YouTube, the algorithm sees what you have engaged with in the past and uses that to predict and show you more content that it thinks you will like. If the algorithm is good at its job (which they are) then you will use the platform longer, which will expose you to more advertisements and the platform then makes more money.

Strikes are a form of punishment that platforms like YouTube and Instagram use on accounts that post content that violates their guidelines, they are mostly automated but sometimes there is human moderation. Strikes usually involve the removal of content, suspensions, or shadow-bans.

Shadow-bans are far more prevalent on Instagram and are the removal of your content from search and the algorithm, meaning when people are passively scrolling through Instagram your content will show up less than normal or not at all, even if someone is following you, worse yet, your account won’t appear in search results, causing people who follow you to think that your account has been deleted.

Finally, bans. Bans are the outright removal of your account and all its content from the platform.


This is a broad reference to any legislation that controls what can be published on the internet as well as to various countries’ counter-terrorism legislation. If you haven't heard of this type of legislation we recommend reading about Phillip Luty (TLDR: he published a book with instructions to make various firearms using store-bought equipment and was subsequently prosecuted until he died).


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