Investigative Report Regarding Mass Shooting in Buffalo, NY

Honorable Letitia James with the Office of Attorney General of the State of New York, has released an “Investigative Report on the role of online platforms in the tragic mass shooting in Buffalo on May 14, 2022” which was done in cooperation with and upon request of Governor Kathy Hochul.  The report provides in-depth background into how online platforms played a crucial role in influencing and promoting the shooter’s beliefs and actions, and proposes legislation to impose:

  1. Criminal liability for the creation by the perpetrator, or someone acting in concert with the perpetrator, of images or videos of a homicide.
  2. Civil liability for the distribution and transmission of this content, including making liable online platforms that fail to take reasonable steps to prevent unlawful violent criminal content from appearing on the platform.
  3. Restrictions on livestreaming.

The report calls upon Congress to reform Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act in order to “incentivize companies to establish robust content moderation programs,” but not “penalize those companies if violative content slips through despite such programs.”

Lastly, the report sends out an appeal to online platforms to take steps now to “invest even more in content moderation,” regardless of current legislation.

For more information, please visit HSDL’s In Focus on Active Shooters, Lone Wolf Terrorism, and Domestic (U.S. ) Terrorism, or search HSDL for further documents related to mass shootings.

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