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New York AG finds Buffalo shooter was ‘radicalized’ by social media

New York AG finds Buffalo shooter was 'radicalized' by social media
A man and a woman comfort each other outside Tops Friendly Market on Jefferson Avenue in Buffalo the day after a gunman killed 10 people and injured three others. May 15, 2022. Derek Gee/ Buffalo News
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On Tuesday, the role of social media platforms in the mass shooting at the Tops on Jefferson in Buffalo were released by New York Attorney General Letitia James and Gov. Kathy Hochul. Together, they detailed online influence as well as the oversight of the platforms to allow extremist and hateful views to proliferate.

On Monday, it was announced that Ye plans to purchase the flailing social media platform, Parler, yet another site known to allow “free speech” which usually translates into hate speech. The next day, dark web platforms are being called out for “radicalizing” the teenage suspect in the racially motivated Buffalo grocery store mass shooting that left 10 Black people dead.

Also on Tuesday, the mother of George Floyd has sued Ye for $250 million due to his recent comments on Drinks Champs after being removed from Twitter, Instagram, and cut from a recent episode of HBO’s The Shop for antisemitic posts and statements.


As manic right-wingers with mega phones like Ye create division in public, what their followers do privately on social media platforms has proven to be much more nefarious.

Social media groups planned January 6

According to The Washington Post and ProPublica, Facebook groups swelled with at least 650,000 posts attacking the legitimacy of Joe Biden’s victory between Election Day and the Jan. 6 siege of the U.S. Capitol.

State Attorney General Letitia James alleges several online platforms played roles in the May 14 mass shooting by radicalizing the suspect, Payton Gendron, as he consumed voluminous amounts of racist and violent content, and then by allowing him to broadcast the deadly attack.

The report found anonymous, largely unmoderated websites and platforms, like 4chan, as influences on Gendron. It also said livestreaming platforms like Twitch were “weaponized” to publicize and encourage copycat attacks.

“The tragic shooting in Buffalo exposed the real dangers of unmoderated online platforms that have become breeding grounds for white supremacy,” James said in a statement accompanying the report’s release. “Today I met with the victims’ families to share the findings of this report. This report is further proof that online radicalization and extremism is a serious threat to our communities, especially communities of color.”

James’ office examined several online platforms used by Gendron, including 4chan, 8kun, Reddit, Discord, Twitch and YouTube. Investigators also found graphic content of the Buffalo shooting or the suspect’s manifesto on other online platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, and Rumble.


According to ABC News, James called for federal and state reforms to combat online extremism and violence, including state legislation that would penalize individuals who reshare or repost content showing violent acts and criminalize graphic images or videos created by a perpetrator of a homicide.

The attorney general is also recommending changes to Section 230 of the federal Communications Decency Act to increase accountability of online platforms and require companies take reasonable steps to prevent unlawful violent criminal content from appearing on their platforms.

Hailing from Charlotte North Carolina, born litterateur Ezekiel J. Walker earned a B.A. in Psychology at Winston Salem State University. Walker later published his first creative nonfiction book and has...

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