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New York AG investigating Twitch, Discord role in Buffalo shooting

Letitia James also looking into 4chan and 8chan, saying the terror attack "again revealed the depths and dangers of these platforms that spread and promote hate without consequence"

Content warning: Article contains references to terror attack, mass shooting and racism.

New York Attorney General Letitia James announced announced today that her office is opening up an investigation into the social media platforms a white supremacist in Buffalo used last month to plan and promote his Saturday shooting at a grocery store in a predominantly Black neighborhood in Buffalo.

10 people were killed in the attack.

James said the investigation will focus on Twitch, 4chan, 8chan, and Discord, as well as any other platforms "that may have been used to stream, promote, or plan the event."

"This terror attack again revealed the depths and dangers of these platforms that spread and promote hate without consequence. 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"

The shooting was livestreamed on Twitch, and the gunman also reportedly shared plans for the attack beforehand on a private Discord server.

Both Twitch and Discord previously said they were cooperating with authorities' investigations into the shooting.

Discord was also used to promote the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville in 2017, a far-right event that led to one man driving a car through a crowd of protestors, killing one woman.

Discord responded at the time by shutting down an alt-right server and banning some users. It also pledged at the time to take an "aggressive" approach to banning users and condemned white supremacy and neo-Nazism.

Despite that, Nazis on the platform continued to be a problem.

Update: A Discord representative shared the following statement:

"Our deepest sympathies are with the victims and their families. Hate has no place on Discord and we are committed to combating violence and extremism.

"We are continuing to do everything we can to assist law enforcement and the investigation remains ongoing. What we know at this time is that a private, invite-only server was created by the suspect to serve as a personal diary chat log. Approximately 30 minutes prior to the attack, however, a small group of people were invited to and joined the server. Before that, our records indicate no other people saw the diary chat log in this private server."

"We will cooperate with the New York Attorney General's investigation."

A Twitch representative also passed along a statement, saying, "We are cooperating with the New York Attorney General's investigation."

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Brendan Sinclair avatar
Brendan Sinclair: Brendan joined in 2012. Based in Toronto, Ontario, he was previously senior news editor at GameSpot.
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