Buffalo supermarket mass shooting latest news: Live updates

On Saturday afternoon, an anonymous user on online forum 4chan wrote, “just 20 minutes ago I just witnessed a mass shooting at a leading supermarket live on twitch with 20 people see other.”

The hateful 4chan forum where all users post anonymously, seems to be in the center of the internet Massacre took place in a Buffalo supermarket on Saturday – from the discussion on the platform that seems to have helped inspire the alleged attacker to spread the gruesome video of the shooting.

One 180 page document attributed to the man suspected of shooting, in which 10 people were killed, references to how he was affected by what he saw on 4chan including how he was inspired while watching video of the 2019 mass shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand – was also live.

Ben Decker, CEO of Memetica, a threat analysis company, told CNN, “this is an attack that mimics Christchurch’s steps, in both real-world attacks; planning and select the target and online; coordinate the live broadcast and disseminate the manifesto on side message boards.”

4chan, founded in 2003, claims they receive 22 million unique visitors a month, half of which are in the US.

Although the site hosts forums on a variety of topics – including video games, memes and anime – and says it has anti-racism rules, its lax content moderation approach which means that hate speech not allowed by more mainstream platforms will spread more freely on 4chan.

4chan is part of the Wild West on the internet. While Big Tech platforms like Facebook and Twitter at least try to control their websites, almost everything happens on 4chan. Several sections on its forums are devoted almost exclusively to the sharing of racist and anti-racist memes and tropes.

A similar website, 8kun – originally called 8chan, and split from 4chan when that forum banned a movement called Gamergate – has been linked to other atrocities.

Immediately after the Buffalo shooting, some users on 4chan did not discuss the horrific loss of life, but instead shared the method of re-uploading the recorded video for more people to see.

Twitch, the Amazon-owned service from which the shooter live-streamed part of the attack, said it removed the video for violating its policies two minutes after the violence in the video began. The live stream itself was actually only seen by a small number of people, perhaps 20 or so, according to screenshots that circulated the stream.

The 4channers that appear to have recorded a live stream screen discussed the tactics of re-uploading videos to other sites and the services that can be used to conceal their identities when they do so.

By Sunday, copies of the video had been circulating on the internet. Some of those copies are said to have been viewed millions of times.

Platforms like Facebook and Twitter have banned video sharing on their sites, but the companies apparently struggled on Sunday to stop its spread.

We don’t have statistics on Buffalo’s video yet, but in the 24 hours after the Christchurch shooting, Facebook said it removed 1.5 million copies of the shooter’s video.

The retention and sharing of these videos by far-right communities on 4chan and other fringe message boards can help inspire further bloodshed, according to Decker – the evidence is what the suspect is, according to Decker. Buffalo wrote in his alleged document.

CNN has reached out to 4chan for comment.

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