New York Attorney General Letitia James opened an investigation into social media companies on Wednesday after a gunman opened fire at a grocery store in Buffalo over the weekend, killing 10 people and wounding three others.
The suspect, 18-year-old Payton Gendron, allegedly livestreamed the shooting on Twitch and discussed his plans on the instant messaging platform Discord before the shooting.
“The terror attack in Buffalo has once again revealed the depths and danger of the online forums that spread and promote hate,” James said Wednesday.
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“The fact that an individual can post detailed plans to commit such an act of hate without consequence, and then stream it for the world to see is bone-chilling and unfathomable,” James added. “As we continue to mourn and honor the lives that were stolen, we are taking serious action to investigate these companies for their roles in this attack.”
James said her office’s investigation will focus on Twitch, Discord, 4chan, and 8chan.
A spokesperson for Twitch previously told Fox Business that they took the livestream down within two minutes.
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Discord will cooperate with James’ investigation, a spokesperson for the company told FOX Business, noting that the shooter’s alleged diary was “posted in a private, invite-only server that no one but the suspect saw until minutes before the attack.”
“Our deepest sympathies are with the victims and their families. Hate has no place on Discord and we are committed to combating violence and extremism,” the spokesperson said. “We are continuing to do everything we can to assist law enforcement and the investigation remains ongoing.”
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul also called out social media companies in the wake of the shooting and referred the investigation to the attorney general’s office.
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“The CEOs of those companies need to be held accountable and assure all of us that they’re taking every step humanly possible to be able to monitor this information,” Hochul told ABC News on Sunday. “How these depraved ideas are fermenting on social media, it’s spreading like a virus now.”
Gendron allegedly posted a racist 180-page manifesto online shortly before the shooting, detailing his plan to target Black people.
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He is due back in court on Thursday after pleading not guilty to murder on Saturday evening.