New York Governor Kathy Hochul is urging social media companies to do more to stop terrorists and mass murderers from broadcasting attacks on their platforms. The call follows a May 14 mass shooting in Buffalo, New York, in which a heavily armed white supremacist live-streamed the murders of ten people and wounded three more at a supermarket in a predominantly black neighborhood.
according to one New York Times In the report, the shooter planned aspects of his fury, with notes like “keep writing manifesto” and “test live streaming function before actual attack”, on a private Discord server. The attack itself was streamed live on Twitch.
Discord told the Times it is cooperating with law enforcement authorities investigating the shooter’s use of Discord, but declined to comment further.
“We extend our deepest condolences to the victims and their families, and will do everything we can to assist authorities in the investigation,” the company said.
In turn, a Twitch representative said that the live streaming platform “has a zero-tolerance policy against any type of violence and works quickly to respond to all incidents.”
“The user has been indefinitely suspended from our service and we are taking all appropriate steps, including monitoring any accounts that are rebroadcasting this content,” Twitch said.
The service also noted that the shooter’s Twitch channel went down less than two minutes after he began his rampage.
This is not the first time that a premeditated hate crime has been broadcast on the internet. A 2019 attack on a synagogue in Germany, in which two people were killed, was also streamed on Twitch, while the attacks two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, which left 51 people dead, were broadcast live on Facebook. According to Australia Institute for the Prevention of Hate Onlinethe Buffalo shooter wrote in his manifesto that he was inspired by the Christchurch forward’s live stream, which he said introduced him to the “grand replacement theory” and other racist conspiracy theories espoused by both shooters.
A response time of under two minutes sounds pretty good to me for the immediate moderation of a service with over 80,000 live channels at any given time, but New York Governor Kathy Hochul demands that social media platforms do more. to prevent these streams from being shared.
“There is a frenzy on social media platforms where hate festers more hate, it has to stop,” Hochul said during a abstract after shooting. “These outlets must be more vigilant in monitoring social media content. And certainly the fact that this act of barbarism, this execution of innocent human beings, can be broadcast live on social media platforms and not be taken down in a second , tells me there’s a responsibility out there.
“We’re going to keep working on that and make sure those who provide these platforms have morals and ethics, and I hope I have a legal responsibility to make sure that this hate can’t populate these sites, because that’s the result.”
Hochul added that his administration also “will prepare our state for what could be a Supreme Court ruling that allows people to carry concealed weapons.”
I’ve reached out to Twitch and Discord for further comments and will update if I get a response.