Failure of Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, Twitch and Discord to Prevent Spread of Buffalo Video Will Lead to More White Nationalist Violence
Washington, DC — After a white nationalist gunman killed 10 people at a supermarket in a Black neighborhood in Buffalo, NY, video footage of his rampage spread through multiple social media networks. The shooter allegedly discussed his plans months ago on Discord and he livestreamed part of the shooting on Amazon’s Twitch. Recordings of this video were also distributed on Facebook, Twitter and TikTok. In his alleged writings online, the Buffalo shooter repeatedly stated that he drew inspiration from the deadly shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand. After Christchurch, Muslim Advocates repeatedly urged Facebook to take action to prevent similar videos from being spread in the future.
The following is a statement from Muslim Advocates Senior Policy Counsel Sumayyah Waheed:
“Because social media companies purposefully failed to heed the clear lessons from Christchurch, yet another white nationalist shooter directly inspired by that tragedy was able to pass the baton to a future white nationalist seeking to commit violence for attention. All it takes for another Buffalo to happen is for one disturbed individual to see the shooter’s video and Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, Twitch and Discord have given millions that opportunity.
After Christchurch, Muslim Advocates repeatedly warned Facebook that more needed to be done to prevent a similar video from going viral on their platforms. In response, Facebook touted new rules limiting the livestreaming capabilities of users who break certain rules and other limits on faith-based hate speech. These efforts clearly failed and because of that failure, footage of the Buffalo rampage went viral on Facebook. Similar promises from Twitter and TikTok also failed to prevent the Buffalo footage from going viral on those platforms. And we obviously can’t forget Twitch’s failure to prevent the shooter’s livestream in the first place and Discord’s failure to detect and report the fact that the shooter allegedly used that platform to discuss his murderous plan months ago.
The stated goal of the Christchurch and Buffalo shooters was to draw attention and inspire more hate and violence. Social media companies are playing right into their bloody hands by choosing not to dedicate the will and resources necessary to stamp out hate on their platforms. AI-driven, auto-detection is clearly not working and communities of color can’t afford to wait until the long-promised day when that technology is mature. These social media companies already have clear standards against hateful content that they are not enforcing. To these companies, we need you to do the right thing. Enforce your rules and stop passing the responsibility of enforcement to half-baked, failed algorithms and overworked contractors. Our community members’ lives are on the line.”
Muslim Advocates is a national civil rights organization working in the courts, in the halls of power and in communities to halt bigotry in its tracks. We ensure that American Muslims have a seat at the table with expert representation so that all Americans may live free from hate and discrimination.