NJ probes Discord, Twitch social media after deadly supermarket shooting
New Jersey has launched an investigation of social media platforms Discord and Twitch, following the mass shooting in Buffalo, New York, that left 10 victims dead.
State investigators will determine whether the platforms are violating state consumer protection laws by failing to moderate harmful content and enforce policies that restrict violent extremism and hateful conduct, Acting Attorney General Matthew Platkin announced Monday.
The 18-year-old white man who law enforcement say gunned down and killed 10 Black victims reportedly used Twitch to live-stream the May 14 fatal supermarket shooting.
The streaming service is very popular with gamers.
Before the attack, Payton Gendron has also been accused of sharing his plans on Discord — an online messaging platform where users can create invite-only chat groups.
The Justice Department has been investigating the mass shooting as a hate crime and an act of racially-motivated violent extremism, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland previously confirmed.
Gendron also has been charged with murder.
“These social media platforms have enormous reach, especially with young people, and have shown themselves to be staging grounds for hateful and extremist content that may radicalize children and others,” Platkin said in a written statement.
The state investigation would focus on the platforms’ content moderation practices and enforcement against individuals who violate them, according to Platkin.
That includes how such policies are applied to minors who use the sites — and in particular, those younger than 13.
“Companies cannot advertise that they will do one thing, then do another," Acting Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs, Cari Fais said in the same release.
"If these platforms represent that they will proactively moderate or prohibit violent extremism and hate, and then let it flourish unchecked with potentially harmful or even deadly consequences, it is unlawful.”