State Attorney General Letitia James and Gov. Kathy Hochul released a report on the role of online platforms in the tragic Buffalo mass shooting where 10 Black individuals were killed and three others were injured at the Tops grocery store.
The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) reviewed thousands of pages of documents and social media content to examine how the alleged shooter used online platforms to plan, prepare, and publicize his attack. This investigation and subsequent report were completed in accordance with a referral from Hochul. During the course of the investigation, OAG obtained and reviewed external and internal content and policies of several of the online platforms used by the shooter. The report concludes that fringe online platforms, like 4chan, radicalized the shooter; livestreaming platforms, like Twitch, were weaponized to publicize and encourage copycat violent attacks; and a lack of oversight, transparency, and accountability of these platforms allowed hateful and extremist views to proliferate online, leading to radicalization and violence.
In the wake of these findings, James and Hochul are calling for federal and state reforms to combat online extremism and violence, including state legislation that would criminalize graphic images or videos created by a perpetrator of a homicide and penalize individuals who reshare or repost those same images or videos.