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UPDATE 3-New York State Launches Investigation into Social Media Platforms Used by Buffalo Shooting Suspect

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By Maria Caspani

NEW YORK, May 18 (Reuters) – New York state authorities have launched an investigation into several social media platforms they believe were used to plan, promote and disseminate the attack that left 10 dead, said state attorney general Letitia James. Wednesday.

Governor Kathy Hochul unveiled several additional measures aimed at combating domestic terrorism, including legislation to strengthen New York’s gun laws and a directive for state police to exercise their authority to disarm individuals. considered a public threat.

James, responding to a letter of recommendation from Hochul to investigate the role of social media in the massacre, said his investigation will focus on Twitch, the live video service owned by, as well as the site of Discord internet chat, 4chan and 8chan online chat rooms, and other platforms “the shooter was using to amplify his attack.”

“This terrorist attack has once again exposed the depths and dangers of these platforms that spread and promote hate without consequence,” James said. “We are doing everything in our power to stop this dangerous behavior now and ensure it never happens again.”

The FBI said Payton Gendron, who is white, committed an act of “racially motivated violent extremism” on Saturday when he opened fire with a semi-automatic rifle at a grocery store in a predominantly African-American neighborhood. American Buffalo, killing 13 people. Most of the victims were black. Ten died.

Authorities said Gendron, 18, streamed the attack in real time on Twitch before turning himself in to police, and allegedly posted a white supremacy manifesto and a lengthy checklist and account of his preparations. on social media before the rampage.

Gendron was jailed without bail for first degree murder. He pleaded not guilty.


Twitch said in a statement on the day of filming that it deleted the live stream less than two minutes after it began and was working to ensure no other accounts reposted the content.

Hochul, accusing social media platforms of a “feeding frenzy” of violent extremist ideology spreading across the internet, said Twitch should have taken down the video of the shooting “in a second”.

Screenshots from the show circulated on social media throughout the day, some of which appeared to show the shooter standing over a body in the grocery store. Reuters was able to find footage of the livestream still posted on a website as recently as Wednesday morning.

A 589-page planning document written by the suspect under a different username has been posted on Discord, according to media reports. Discord said in a statement, “We will be cooperating with the New York Attorney General’s investigation.”

The other companies referenced by James’ announcement did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Seeking to head off further attacks from people deemed by authorities to pose a risk to public safety, Hochul on Wednesday ordered state police to seek emergency court orders under the ‘red flag’ law. of New York to keep firearms out of the hands of people considered a danger to themselves or others.

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which tracks hate and extremist groups, told Reuters the Buffalo shooter suspect “has a substantial online history in toxic and niche online communities.”

The suspect came to the attention of local law enforcement nearly a year before the Buffalo shooting when police arrested him after he made a threat to his high school, according to the Buffalo Police Commissioner, who said Gendron underwent a mental health evaluation and was released.

Hochul also announced a package of gun safety laws, including measures to expand the definition of weapons subject to pre-existing gun regulations, strengthen gun recovery reporting requirements for law enforcement agencies and to improve the tracking of weapons fired during the commission of crimes.

Additionally, the governor signed an executive order establishing a new domestic counterterrorism unit within state law enforcement and establishing a state police unit dedicated to monitoring and response. violent extremist threats on social media. (Reporting by Maria Caspani in New York; Writing and additional reporting by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles; Additional reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Chicago; Editing by Mark Porter and Rosalba O’Brien)

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