Social media platforms used by the Buffalo shooter to be investigated by New York

A memorial is seen in the wake of a weekend shooting at a Tops supermarket in Buffalo, New York, U.S. May 18, 2022. Reuters / BRENDAN MCDERMID

State Attorney General Letitia James announced that New York had initiated an investigation into numerous social media platforms that they believe the accused Buffalo grocery store shooter used to plan, promote, and broadcast the incident that left ten people dead.

Governor Kathy Hochul presented several extra steps to combat domestic terrorism, including legislation to tighten New York's gun regulations and a direction for state police to disarm those deemed a public threat.

James, in response to Hochul's referral letter to investigate the role of social media in the massacre, stated that her investigation will focus on's Twitch, the internet chat site Discord, the online message boards 4chan and 8chan, and other platforms "the shooter used to amplify his attack."

James stated, "This terror attack again revealed the depths and dangers of these platforms that spread and promote hate without consequence," "We are doing everything in our power to stop this dangerous behavior now and ensure it never happens again."

According to the FBI, White Payton Gendron committed an act of "racially motivated violent extremism" on Saturday when he opened fire with a semi-automatic weapon at a grocery store in an African-American neighborhood of Buffalo, wounding 13 people. The majority of victims were Black. Ten died.

Authorities reported that Gendron, 18, live-streamed the incident on Twitch before surrendering to police. He was also suspected of having uploaded a white nationalist manifesto, a comprehensive checklist, and an explanation of his preparations on social media before the crime.

On suspicion of first-degree murder, Gendron is being held without bail. He entered an alibi plea.

'Feeding Frenzy' of hate

Twitch started in a statement released on the day of the shooting that it disabled the Livestream less than two minutes after it began and was working to prevent any other accounts from reposting the material.

Hochul, blaming social media platforms for the "feeding frenzy" of violent extremist ideology on the internet, stated that Twitch should have removed the shooting footage "within a second."

ThrScreenshots the broadcast emerged on social media throughout the day, including those that appeared to show the gunman standing over a body at a grocery shop. Reuters could locate Livestream footage still posted on a website even as late as Wednesday morning.

According to media sources, a 589-page strategy paper created by the suspect under a different user identity was shared on Discord. Discord stated in a statement, "We will cooperate with the New York attorney general's investigation."

The other businesses included in James's announcement did not reply quickly to calls for comment.

Hochul directed state police on Wednesday to obtain emergency court orders under New York's'red-flag law to keep firearms out of the hands of individuals believed to pose a risk to public safety. Hochul's goal is to prevent further attacks by individuals deemed by authorities to pose a threat to public safety.

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), an organization that monitors hate and extremist groups, told Reuters that the suspect in the Buffalo shooting "had a substantial online history in niche, toxic online communities."

Nearly a year before the shooting in Buffalo, police held the suspect after he made a threat at his high school, according to Buffalo's police commissioner, who added that Gendron was given a mental health evaluation and then released.

Hochul also introduced a package of gun safety legislation, which includes provisions to expand the definition of weapons subject to existing firearms rules, strengthen gun-recovery reporting requirements for police enforcement, and enhance the tracking of firearms used in crimes.

In addition, the governor issued an executive order establishing a new domestic terrorism section under state law enforcement and a state police unit dedicated to detecting and responding to violent extremist threats made via social media.

Publish : 2022-05-19 08:09:00

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