According to Bloomberg, the suspected gunman behind the shooting in Buffalo, New York on Saturday that left ten people dead and three more injured used Discord to discuss and communicate plans before the incident.
The suspect is said to have used a private server on the popular chat service to explain his plans to carry out an assault as early as December. According to Bloomberg, he later provided links to Discord logs explaining his assault plot and white nationalist ideas. According to the investigation, the suspect used racial insults and extremist words in the app and cited the terrorist who attacked a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, more than 30 times.
According to a Discord spokeswoman, “as soon as we got aware of it, we took action against it and deactivated the server in compliance with our standards against violent extremism.” The Verge’s request for further information on the company’s moderation procedures was not immediately answered.
The firm claimed in 2021 that Discord’s moderation crew “splits its time” between reacting to user-reported communications and “proactively locating and eliminating servers and persons” involved in “high-harm conduct.” After white supremacists used Discord’s software to plan the horrific Unite the Right event in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017, the company developed a new approach to moderation.
Last year, the business noted, “Trust & Safety has invested a lot of work since 2017 attempting to guarantee that another event like Charlottesville isn’t planned on our platform.”
According to a PC Gamer piece from that year, Discord was mostly depending on user complaints to manage its platform and was not actively monitoring private or public servers. According to the story, Discord’s moderation team may read messages from private servers, although they usually only do so when a message is reported by a user.
Buffalo police say the incident on Saturday is being investigated as a hate crime. According to CNN, the suspect, Payton S. Gendron, informed officials that he was targeting a Black neighborhood, and 11 of the persons who were shot were Black.
The suspect is also accused of planning to webcast the incident via Discord. Twitch claimed to have suspended the feed “less than two minutes after the violence began” after video of the attack was posted live. Despite this, footage has continued to circulate online as major platforms battle to stop new uploads of the gruesome clip.