On Tuesday, two senior New York state officials called on lawmakers to ban the creation of homicide videos, citing the viral spread on the internet of footage streamed live by a gunman as he killed shoppers. and black workers in a racist mass shooting at a Buffalo supermarket.
Attorney General Letitia James and Governor Kathy Hochul, both Democrats, have recommended state legislation that would criminalize both graphic images or videos created by a killer and create “significant” civil penalties for online platforms. who fail to take “reasonable steps” to stop such recordings from being broadcast.
The recommendations are contained in a report examining the role of online platforms in the May 14 attack on a Tops Friendly Market in which 10 people died.
The report from James’s office found that the most widely shared video of the shooting began exploding on the internet minutes after it was uploaded to an obscure file-sharing site by someone in Washington state, who then shared a link. The link and video continued to spread for days, including on Twitter and other mainstream sites, despite efforts by some social media services to remove them.
Nevertheless, the platforms cannot legally be held liable “under the current state of the law”, the report concludes.
“There are no laws in the books that directly address the conduct at issue here, not even for the distribution of a graphic, uncensored video created by an attacker killing another person in cold blood,” said he declared.
The 19-year-old suspect is charged with killing 10 people and wounding three others in the mass shooting. He detailed his plans and views on white supremacy in a private diary on the Discord chat platform, which he made public shortly before the attack began.
The shooter streamed the attack live on Amazon-owned gaming platform Twitch. Twitch deleted the video in less than two minutes. But a small number of the approximately 28 people who listened to part of his broadcast circulated recordings.
New York has some of the toughest gun laws in the country, but even that wasn’t enough to stop a gunman from killing 10 shoppers at a Buffalo, New York, grocery store this month. Following another mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, NBCLX storyteller Ngozi Ekeledo took a look at New York’s gun laws and why gun control advocates guns say they still don’t go far enough.
The video link posted by the Washington state resident was removed by a moderator from 4chan, an anonymous message board, after just 30 minutes, according to the report. But by then, other users had reposted the link about 75 times.
“Soon after, the link began appearing on mainstream websites, including Twitter within 17 minutes and Reddit within an hour. In the days that followed, the link was posted and reposted on these sites. and others thousands of times,” the report said.
Hochul and James called for changes to the federal Communications Decency Act to require companies to take reasonable steps to block violent criminal content, while acknowledging that platforms could potentially claim First Amendment and other protections. .
“Extremist content is flourishing online, and we all need to work together to address this crisis and protect our children and our communities,” James said.
The shooter wrote in his online diary that he was partly inspired by violent videos and writings accessible on various platforms, including a video clip he saw on 4chan of the mass shooting at a mosque. of Christchurch, New Zealand.
“By his own account, the Buffalo shooter’s path to becoming a white supremacist terrorist began with this clip,” the report said.
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