Amazon-owned streaming platform Twitch said it removed a livestream of a mass shooting in Buffalo, New York over the weekend within two minutes of it going live. But that response time was not enough to stop recordings of the footage from spreading to other online platforms, like Facebook, where links to the heinous act remained accessible for hours. This once again raises questions about how much social media companies are really invested in moderating harmful content.
The May 14 mass shooting, seemingly part of a white supremacist attack that killed 10 people, wounded three others, and is being investigated as a hate crime, was livestreamed via the account “jimboboiii” to roughly 20 other users, based on screenshots of the now deleted Twitch channel. The channel’s only previous broadcast was reportedly a “test” to make sure the streaming setup worked. While the gunman seemingly discussed his plans on Discord and possibly other social media platforms months ahead of time, it’s unclear who the viewing accounts were, nor how they knew to tune into the unknown Twitch channel right when it went live.
“Twitch has a zero-tolerance policy against violence of any kind and works swiftly to respond to all incidents,” a spokesperson for the company told Kotaku. “The user has been indefinitely suspended from our service, and we are taking all appropriate action, including monitoring for any accounts rebroadcasting this content.” Twitch did not immediately respond to a request for comment about who was viewing the channel.