AG targets in New York twitch, dispute over buffalo shooting

New York Attorney General Letitia James has announced an investigation into the role social media played in the mass shooting at a Buffalo grocery store.

In the wake of the tragic shooting in Buffalo, New York, on May 14, New York Attorney General Letitia James announced that her office has launched an investigation into the role of several social media platforms in the attack, including Discord and Twitch.

for every KotakuThe Press release of the Attorney General She revealed her intention to examine the shooter’s use of social media platforms after an official request from New York Governor Catherine Hochhol. The attack, which is currently under investigation as a hate crime, killed 10 people in a predominantly black neighborhood. Specifically, James said they would look at how social media enabled the shooter to “discuss and amplify his intentions and actions,” focusing on “Twitch, 4chan, 8chan, and Discord.”

Messaging apps like Discord have been a breeding ground for the extremism that inspired the shooter. Five months before the attack, the shooter reportedly wrote a school project in which he explained his interest in committing a “fatal suicide” but managed to describe it as a joke. In posts on Discord channels, the shooter allegedly revealed that he “wrote it” as part of an ongoing plan to work on it. Because of these elements, James noted that community and messaging apps like Discord are at the center of the investigation.

Video streaming platform Twitch found itself embroiled in the case when the shooter broadcast a mass shooting on the site. Although Twitch pulled the stream about two minutes after it went live, social media sites like Facebook and Streamable got footage of it for hours afterward. This raised questions about the ability of these sites to effectively monitor the content being uploaded to them. James referred to Twitch as particularly annoying, calling it “chilling and unfathomable” that anyone could “commit such an act of hate without consequences, and then broadcast it for the world to see”.

Governor Hochul commented on the issue, criticizing CEOS of Discord, Twitch and other social media sites involved for failing to “assure us all that they are taking every humanly possible step to [monitor] This information.” In particular, it asked Attorney General James to determine whether any of these platforms bear “civil or criminal liability for their role in promoting, facilitating, or providing a platform for planning and promoting violence.”

Twitch is a widely popular game broadcasting game, known for its live broadcasts by professional and amateur gamers alike. This is not the first time the platform has entered into controversy. In 2020, employees at the company spoke out about Twitch’s failure to respond appropriately to allegations of sexual assault and racism across the company and its platform. Messenger Discord is primarily used by gamers to communicate while playing, although others use it as a way to communicate with like-minded groups.

source: New York Attorney General’s Office for every Kotaku

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