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Twitch And Discord Are Officially Under Investigation

After the tragic Buffalo supermarket shooting on May 14, a spotlight was placed on the 18-year-old suspect's internet presence. Shockingly, the shooter allegedly used multiple social media platforms to plan and display the attack. Specifically, the suspect reportedly detailed his plans numerous times through a Discord server, on which the suspect used the words "gun," "attack," and "shoot" hundreds of times between November and May 14 (per Bloomberg). This unsurprisingly raised criticism against Discord, with many believing the social media platform has a duty to identify these types of messages and take preemptive action.

Furthermore, as reported by CNN, the shooting was livestreamed on Twitch to around 20 viewers. Most of the viewers likely came from Discord, as the shooter advertised his Twitch channel to multiple public Discord servers before the attack. Although Twitch was fast to take down the stream, with the attack only being broadcast for a total of two minutes, many have argued that it shouldn't have been possible to stream such gruesome acts on the site. Removing the stream also didn't stop the video from spreading. Members on multiple unmoderated sites, such as 4chan and 8chan, took it upon themselves to ensure the video stayed on the internet (per Washington Post).

Both Twitch and Discord have released statements about the attack, condemning the actions of the shooter and pledging to work with law enforcement going forward. And now, both Twitch and Discord, among other social media sites, are being investigated for their use in the attack.

The New York Attorney General launched the investigation

On May 18, New York Attorney General Letitia James announced that her office is investigating every social media platform allegedly used by the shooter to plan and broadcast their attack, with Twitch and Discord being among those listed. The Attorney General notes that this isn't the first time something like this has happened, pointing to 2019's deadly New Zealand Mosque shooting as another example of social media platforms becoming a haven for hateful communities. Attorney General James stated, "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. "

Additionally, James explained, "We are doing everything in our power to stop this dangerous behavior now and ensure it never happens again." How or what the Attorney General has planned to carry out this investigation of these social media giants is unknown. But with the referral from Governor Hochul regarding New York Executive Law Section 63(8), the Attorney General has a right to investigate these companies when public safety is a concern. Based on the public statements from Twitch and Discord, the two companies are more than willing to cooperate.