May 23, 2022 - Politics & Policy

New Jersey launches probe into Twitch, Discord after Buffalo shooting

Photo showing a black gaming console set in front of a large screen with the purple Twitch logo

Photo: Lionel Bonaventure/AFP via Getty Images

New Jersey's Acting Attorney General Matthew Platkin said Monday that the state has launched an investigation into the social media platforms Discord and Twitch in connection to the Buffalo mass shooting.

Why it matters: The alleged shooter killed 10 people, all of whom were Black, and posted footage from the attack in real-time to Twitch, a platform owned by Amazon that often features live videos of gaming. The probe will determine whether lax content moderation and policy enforcement allowed the platforms to serve as a hub for violent extremism.

Details: The suspect in the Buffalo mass shootings allegedly used both Discord and Twitch to plan and publicize the shooting, according to Platkin's office.

  • The investigation will examine whether the platforms are "violating state consumer protection laws by failing to moderate harmful content and enforce policies prohibiting violent extremism and hateful conduct."
  • It will also focus on how moderation policies are applied to minors and children who use the sites.

What they're saying: "These social media platforms have enormous reach, especially with young people, and have shown themselves to be staging grounds for hateful and extremist content that may radicalize children and others," Platkin said in a statement.

  • "Under New Jersey law companies must deliver on their promises, and the persistence of violent extremism and hateful conduct on these platforms casts doubt on their purported content moderation and enforcement policies and practices."

The big picture: New York has launched a similar probe into social media companies and other online resources that the alleged shooter might have used to discuss and amplify his intentions.

Go deeper: Live streaming motivated the Buffalo shooter

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