Report: Buffalo mass shooting suspect radicalized by social media
A new scathing report slams online platforms for “radicalizing” a teenager.
The teen is the suspect in a May shooting at a Buffalo grocery store.
Police say this was a racially-motivated attack. Ten Black people were killed and three others were injured.
Gov. Kathy Hochul and State Attorney General Letitia James released a report Tuesday, concluding their five-month investigation. They say several online platforms played a role in the May 14 shooting by Payton Gendron, 19.
The report reveals new details about the online spread of photos and videos from the attack and the inner workings of the fringe message board 4-Chan, which experts have described as a breeding ground for far-right extremists.
However, New York state cannot bring criminal or civil charges against these platforms because current law shields them from liability.
The findings come with a call for new legislation to address what James called “a lack of oversight, transparency, and accountability,” allowing hateful and extremist views to proliferate online.
Gendron is accused of planning the massacre for months, including traveling to the Tops store – which is located more than three hours away from his home – to sketch the layout and count the number of Black people there.
He has been charged with multiple counts of murder and hate crimes, pleading not guilty.
The report asks for a new state law that would penalize people who share posts showing violence.
The attorney general is also recommending changes to the Federal Communications Decency Act to increase accountability of online platforms and require companies to take reasonable steps to prevent unlawful, violent criminal content from appearing on their platforms.