New York Attorney General Letitia James is launching an investigation into the social media platforms allegedly used by the Buffalo shooting suspect.
The investigation, revealed by James’s office on Wednesday, focuses on live-streaming platform Twitch, messaging service Discord, and websites 4chan and 8chan (now known as 8kun). Other public companies may also be involved in the investigation, James said.
The investigation is expected to focus on companies that “the Buffalo shooter used to plan, promote and broadcast his terrorist attack,” James said in a statement. Tweeter.
News of the investigation further reinforces the scrutiny of tech platforms and their handling of the Buffalo shooting suspect’s racist and violent online content, including a 180-page document that has been attributed to the suspect.
Prior to opening fire at a supermarket in a predominantly black neighborhood of Buffalo, the suspect appears to have hinted at his plans on 4chan and to have created a private chat room on Discord. The suspect also attempted to live stream the shooting on Twitch, which was deleted in less than two minutes but continued to spread on other major platforms.
Discord told CNN in a statement that it plans to cooperate with the investigation. Amazon-owned Twitch, 4chan and 8chan did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The results of the investigation will be sent to New York Governor Kathy Hochul, who has ordered James to begin the investigation, Hochul said Wednesday.
“These social media platforms need to take responsibility,” Hochul said. “They need to be more vigilant in monitoring content and they need to be held accountable for fostering engagement over public safety.”
In a letter to James dated Wednesday, Hochul called for an investigation to determine “whether specific companies have civil or criminal liability for their role in promoting, facilitating or providing a platform to plan and promote violence”.
Several First Amendment and liability experts on the platform have said it would not have been illegal for the Buffalo shooting suspect to livestream his video online.
Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, along with the First Amendment, also shields social media and technology platforms from liability for most user-generated content, although a Texas state law currently before the Supreme Court claims to restrict how platforms can moderate content.
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