New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) on Sunday said she holds tech companies “responsible for not monitoring and alerting law enforcement,” following a shooting at a Buffalo supermarket that the suspect live-streamed on the social media platform Twitch, according to officials.
During an interview on MSNBC’s “Meet the Press,” Hochul expressed concern over the proliferation of right-wing extremism ideology on the Internet.
“There’s three components of this: the white supremacist terrorism, the radicalization that’s occurring of our young people, particularly who are vulnerable to these evil ideas,” Hochul said. “It’s all induced by the internet.”
The New York governor cited a manifesto that authorities suspect Payton Gendron, a white 18-year-old man who allegedly shot 10 people fatally and wounded three at a Buffalo supermarket, posted days before the shooting. According to NBC News, the manifesto reportedly laid out plans to attack Black people and repeatedly cited the “Great Replacement” theory. The conspiracy theory, which has been pushed among right-wing media figures, espouses a racist idea that white Americans are at risk of being “replaced” by non-white people due to immigration, interracial marriage and violence. Authorities have not confirmed whether the manifesto was authored by Gendron.
“And the fact that platforms are willing to share this information, allow it to be posted, a manifesto that’s been out there that describes in great detail how someone wants to have an execution of individuals in a community that’s targeted because it’s the highest Black population within a geographic area, that’s all out there,” Hochul said.
Hochul then expressed disbelief that the suspect live-streamed the shooting on the platform Twitch. A spokesperson for Twitch said the company removed the stream by the suspect less than two minutes after the shooting began.
“How long was it live-streamed before someone paid attention? These companies make a lot of money. They’re very profitable,” Hochul said. “And in my judgment, they have the opportunity to be doing far more monitoring and shut things down before it gets to this situation.”
Hochul went on to argue that the issue with tech companies is the “fomenting” of extremist ideas.
“People are sharing these ideas. They’re sharing videos of other attacks. And they’re all copycat. They all want to be the next great white hope that’s going to inspire the next attack,” Hochul said.
“We can’t let that continue. And we know where it’s occurring — it’s not happening in the basement of a KKK meeting anymore where you have a limited number of people who are succumbing to these evil influences,” Hochul continued. “This is happening globally.”
Shortly after the shooting occurred on Saturday, Hochul criticized social media platforms in light of the suspect’s livestream of the mass shooting.
“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 that there is a responsibility out there,” Hochul said during a press conference Saturday night.
“And we’re going to continue to work on this and make sure that those who provide these platforms have a moral and ethical, and I hope to have a legal responsibility to ensure that such hate cannot populate these sites, because this is the result,” Hochul added.
Gendron allegedly shot 10 people fatally and wounded three at a Buffalo supermarket Saturday afternoon in what law enforcement officials described as “racially motivated violent extremism.” Eleven out of the 13 people the suspect shot were Black.
On Sunday, Erie County District Attorney John Flynn said that he may pursue a domestic terrorism charge against Gendron.
“We have evidence that this potentially was racially motivated. We have evidence that potentially may lead us to a terrorism charge,” Flynn said as he vowed to bring justice to families affected by the shooting with a fair trial.
Watch Hochul’s remarks below: