Police officials say Conklin, who is white, was wearing body armor and military-style clothing when he pulled up and opened fire at people at a Tops Friendly Market, the shooting streamed via a camera affixed to his helmet.
In a press conference, Governor Hochul strongly criticized “social media platforms” for manifesting hate and not immediately taking down Conklin’s live stream.
While she did not name any one site, an administration official confirms that she was referring to Twitch, a live streaming site owned by Amazon and popular with gamers.
“The social media platforms that profit from their existence need to be responsible for monitoring and having surveillance, knowing that they can be, in a sense, an accomplice to a crime like this. Perhaps not legally, but morally. They’ve created the platform for this hate to be spewed,” said Hochul.
Hochul also said there is “a feeding frenzy on social media platforms, where hate festers more hate.”
“That has to stop. These outlets must be more vigilant in monitoring social media content. And certainly, the fact that this act of barbarism, this execution of innocent human beings, could be livestreamed on social media platforms and not taken down within a second, says to me there is a responsibility out there,” the governor added.
Twitch claims it took Conklin’s channel offline within two minutes of the shooting and issued a statement saying,
“We are devastated to hear about the shooting that took place this afternoon in Buffalo, New York. Our hearts go out to the community impacted by the tragedy. Twitch has a zero tolerance policy against violence of any kind and works swiftly to respond to all incidents. The user has been indefinitely suspended from our service, and we are taking all appropriate action, including monitoring for any accounts rebroadcasting this content.”
A 2019 shooting at a Jewish synagogue in Halle, Germany was also live-streamed on Twitch.
Law enforcement is also looking at the messaging platform Discord, where the gunman may have made a list of instructions for himself. Discord was used by white supremacists to plan the Charlottsville, Va rally in 2017.
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