New York Attorney General to Investigate Social Media Platforms That Hosted Images of Buffalo Massacre

New York Attorney General Letitia James’ office will investigate social media platforms that hosted content used to “broadcast, promote or plan” an apparent racist massacre in Buffalo that killed 10 people and injured three others.

Ms James named the live streaming service Twitch, as well as the 4chan and 8chan message boards and the Discord messaging platform, which investigators believe alleged gunman and self-confessed white supremacist Payton Gendron “used to discuss and amplify their intentions and actions to carry out this attack.”

“The terrorist attack in Buffalo has once again revealed the depths and danger of online forums that spread and promote hate,” he said in a statement on May 18. “The fact that an individual could post detailed plans to commit such an act of hate without consequence, and then broadcast it for the world to see is chilling and unfathomable.”

Ms James condemned the “real-world devastation that stems from these dangerous and hateful platforms” as the investigation intends to “highlight this alarming behavior and take action to ensure it never happens again”.

Law enforcement reported that Gendron’s extensive social media presence reveals weeks of planning before targeting the Tops Friendly Markets grocery store in a predominantly black neighborhood in New York’s second-largest city.

Investigators also uncovered a 180-page “manifesto” that was circulated online before the attack, which was streamed live on Twitch and widely shared in screenshots and other video captures that have evaded other social media platforms.

In the wake of the killings, a Twitch company announcement said it was “devastated” by the news, adding that the account “has been indefinitely suspended from our service and we are taking all appropriate action, including monitoring any accounts.” broadcast this.” content.”

Posts on Discord were visible to a “private, invite-only” group about 30 minutes before the shootings began on May 14, according to a statement from the platform.

“Our deepest condolences go out to the victims and their families,” the company said in a statement. “Hate has no place on Discord and we are committed to combating violence and extremism. We continue to do everything we can to assist law enforcement and the investigation remains ongoing.”

In comments to Buffalo’s True Bethel Baptist Church on Sunday, New York Governor Kathy Hochul condemned “the instruments of this evil, the social media platforms that allow this hate to ferment and spread like a virus; it’s spreading around the world as we speak.”

He has demanded that the CEOs of social media companies be “responsible and assure us all that they are taking every step humanly possible to be able to monitor this information,” he told ABC News on Sunday.

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