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Hochul Calls for Action from Social Media Companies After Buffalo Shooting

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Hochul in Buffalo on Saturday, May 14, 2022.
Credit: New York Governor's Office

Hochul's Response to the Shooting in Buffalo

Gov. Kathy Hochul said on Sunday that she wants top social media companies to examine how their platforms contribute to the spread of racist ideologies that fuel violent attacks, including a mass shooting in Buffalo Saturday that left 10 people dead. 

Hochul called on those companies to develop algorithms that could alert law enforcement when someone posts content on social media that “shows a propensity or desire to harm others.”

“I want them to have … a system that would immediately alert individuals when racist content or any manifesto-type materials that shows a propensity or desire to harm others, to kill them, to maim them, to have mass casualties,” Hochul said in an interview with NPR.

The shooter had reportedly released a manifesto before the attack, and then streamed part of the shooting live online. The manifesto indicated that the attack was racially motivated, and that the shooter was targeting people of color.

Social media companies remain largely unregulated in the U.S., with opponents of regulation concerned over the implications for free speech rights. Research has shown that online communities can fuel extremist actions, including violence. 

The shooter was arrested Saturday, and brought up on murder charges, but federal prosecutors said they’re investigating the attack as “both a hate crime and a case of racially motivated violent extremism,” according to a report from WBFO News.

Hochul said she would support having the shooter brought up on domestic terrorism charges as well.