New York Attorney General Letitia James announced her office is launching a series of investigations into numerous social media companies whose platforms may have played a role in the tragic shooting that took place in a Buffalo supermarket over the weekend.
On Wednesday, four days after 18-year-old Payton Gendron is suspected of opening fire in Buffalo’s Tops Family Markets and killing 10 people while injuring at least three more, Attorney General James and her office revealed that websites such as Twitch, 4chan, 8chan, and Discord are under investigation. The alleged shooter is suspected of using those platforms to “stream, promote, or plan” Saturday’s mass shooting.
“The terror attack in Buffalo has once again revealed the depths and danger of the online forums that spread and promote hate,” Attorney General James said Wednesday. “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.”
“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,” she continued.
“Time and time again, we have seen the real-world devastation that is borne of these dangerous and hateful platforms, and we are doing everything in our power to shine a spotlight on this alarming behavior and take action to ensure it never happens again.”
As Radar reported, the suspected shooter kept a detailed online diary of his radicalization that contained daily entries outlining not only his turn to white supremacy but also plans to commit a mass shooting much like the one that took place in Buffalo.
“My current beliefs started when I first started to use 4chan a few months after covid started,” Gendron wrote in the twisted diary originally posted to Discord. “Every time I think maybe I shouldn’t commit to an attack I spend 5 min [on] /pol/, then my motivation returns.”
“I can’t tell you how much I don’t want to do this attack My only other choice is suicide I can’t go back,” the teenager said in another entry posted to Discord just two months before Saturday’s attack.
Besides numerous posts detailing the suspected shooter’s hatred towards the Black community and his plans to attack predominantly Black neighborhoods, Gendron also allegedly live-streamed the massacre at the Buffalo supermarket on Twitch while also uploading a 180-page manifesto detailing his racist and skewed views.
Attorney General James also revealed that her office was able to launch the investigations into websites such as Twitch, 4chan, 8chan, and Discord after NY Governor Kathy Hochul referred the AG’s office to a New York executive law that allows the attorney general to investigate matters concerning public peace, public safety, and public justice while also providing the power to subpoena witnesses and demand the production of documents.
Gendron is currently facing at least one count of murder, and can potentially see upgraded hate crime and domestic extremism charges once the case is brought before a grand jury on Thursday.