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Social media platforms face scrutiny over violent content in wake of Buffalo shooting

The alleged Buffalo shooter livestreamed his attack on Twitch, and although the gaming platform took it down in less than two minutes, recordings of it were already spreading on Facebook and Twitter.

Nadia Galindo

May 16, 2022, 9:38 PM

Updated 768 days ago

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Social media platforms are facing tough questions in the wake of the deadly mass shooting.
The alleged Buffalo shooter livestreamed his attack on Twitch, and although the gaming platform took it down in less than two minutes, recordings of it were already spreading on Facebook and Twitter.
"The fact that, that can be posted on a platform is absolutely shocking and we need to find out what happened so it doesn't happen again," said Gov. Kathy Hochul.
Gov. Hochul says tech companies bear some of the responsibility in monitoring the content posted on their platforms.
News 12 spoke with social media expert Robin Colner, founder of DigiStar Media, about what social media companies are already doing.
She said they are using algorithms to flag content and moderators to review it, but more could be done.
"Social media platforms are not doing enough to silent these violent videos," said Colner. "First of all, the concept of live streaming actually fosters this kind of behavior because it gives people attention and it gives people a lack of ability to control it."
While Twitch took down the live stream within two minutes, previous shootings have been able to stay up much longer.
In 2019, the Christchurch shooting in New Zealand was livestreamed by a self-described white supremacist on Facebook for 17 minutes before it was taken down.
Social media platforms are protected under federal law from being held responsible for user content.
Colner said the only real solution is to ban livestreaming altogether.
"These platforms were allowed to be developed with zero regulation and when you start trying to put the pandora back in the box after they are 15 years out running, its very difficult," Colner said.
There is also concerns over hate speech and the violence it sparks.
The Buffalo shooter in this case appears to have been radicalized during the pandemic through message board 4chan.
"The time to have thought about this and to have put regulations was a long time ago," said Colner.


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