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Amazon’s Twitch, Discord, 4chan face New York AG probe after Buffalo shooting


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New York State Attorney General Letitia James in New York City, November 19, 2019.
Lucas Jackson | Reuters

New York Attorney General Letitia James will investigate social media companies including Amazon’s Twitch in connection to the apparently racially-motivated shooting at a Buffalo supermarket that left 10 dead and three injured.

James’ office will also focus on 4chan, 8chan and Discord, but is not limited to those platforms, according to a press release published Wednesday. Investigators will look at online resources the gunman “used to discuss and amplify his intentions and acts to carry out this attack.”

The shooter initially livestreamed his actions to Twitch during the massacre at Tops grocery store on Saturday. Twenty-two people viewed the livestream before it was removed, according to The Washington Post.

Investigators and reports have found that, prior to the shooting, the suspect posted about white supremacist theories and plans for violence online. Officials said he researched demographics of the area and drove to the store intending to kill as many Black people as possible.

“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,” James said in a statement. “As we continue to mourn and honor the lives that were stolen, we are taking serious action to investigate these companies for their roles in this attack. Time and time again, we have seen the real-world devastation that is borne of these dangerous and hateful platforms, and we are doing everything in our power to shine a spotlight on this alarming behavior and take action to ensure it never happens again.”

According to the release, Governor Kathy Hochul referred the investigation to the AG’s office.

Discord will cooperate with the investigation, a spokesperson said.

Discord on Tuesday said, “What we know at this time is that a private, invite-only server was created by the suspect to serve as a personal diary chat log. Approximately 30 minutes prior to the attack, however, a small group of people were invited to and joined the server. Before that, our records indicate no other people saw the diary chat log in this private server.”

Representatives for Twitch and 4chan did not immediately respond to requests for comment. A representative for 8chan could not immediately be identified.

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