Push to crackdown on hate speech on social media sites following racially-motivated mass shooting

There is a push to crack down on racism and hate speech on social media websites following the mass shooting in Buffalo where investigators say the gunman was targeting Black Americans at a grocery store.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – There is a push to crack down on racism and hate speech on social media websites following the mass shooting in Buffalo where investigators say the gunman was targeting Black Americans at a grocery store.

The Governor of New York is calling for stricter monitoring of hate speech online. Gov. Kathy Hochul said that social media platforms can “become an accomplice if not legally, but morally.”

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The suspected shooter accused of killing 10 people Saturday in a predominantly Black neighborhood broadcast his attack on the streaming platform Twitch, authorities said.

Some say more needs to be done to monitor hate speech on social media following this alleged killer’s online rants about white supremacy and his live-streaming of the mass murder online by wearing a camera mounted to his helmet. Now officials are saying warning signs need to be taken seriously by the community and law enforcement.

The tragedy in Buffalo has had a chilling effect on the nation as investigators say the 18-year-old accused of the shooting was involved in hateful content online on social media sites like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, 4chan and Reddit.

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“But mark my words, we’ll be aggressive in our pursuit of anyone who subscribes to the ideals professed by other white supremacists and how there’s a feeding frenzy on social media platforms where hate festers more hate. That has to stop,” Gov. Hochul said.

Dwann Holmes is a social media expert who lives in Orange Park. She said determining who’s a public threat on social media isn’t easy.

Holmes said the biggest issue may be if and when law enforcement takes social media threats seriously.

“Ok we have teenagers and everyone...everyone’s claim to fame now is doing something crazy on social media,” Holmes said.

The issue of moderating any speech on social media has been a political issue for years with many conservatives believing their views are already targeted on social media. The expected purchase of Twitter by Elon Musk has made many people nervous that it would eliminate any real content moderation on that platform.

Holmes said she hopes banning hate speech online is an idea that the majority of people can get behind, but she has concerns that certain people online would be more likely to be investigated than others.

“I think there’s gonna be a line that’s drawn because right now there is still a great amount of debate about how police treat Black kids, browned skinned folks versus how they treat a white American bred teenager. So until we can find a common ground,” Holmes said.

And while it seems horrible that the gunman streamed his killing live on social media it’s not unheard of. In the past few years, we’ve seen similar cases in New Zealand and Germany where gunmen streamed murders live.


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Specializes in Clay County issues, general assignment reporting and stories off the beaten path and anchors weekend evening newscasts.