The alleged shooter behind the attack in Buffalo, New York that left 10 dead and three injured on Saturday used Discord to discuss and share plans ahead of the attack, sources say Bloomberg.
As early as December, the suspect is said to have used a private server of the popular chat service to describe his intentions to attack. He later shared links to Discord logs detailing his plan of attack and his views on white supremacists Bloomberg. The report says the suspect mentioned the terrorist who had attacked a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, more than 30 times and used racist slurs and extremist phrases on the app.
- “Discord wanted to make sure that “no other event like Charlottesville is planned on our platform””
“As soon as we became aware of this, we took action and removed the server in accordance with our policies against violent extremism,” a Discord spokesperson said Bloomberg. The company did not immediately respond The edge‘s request for more information on its moderation policy.
Discord’s moderation team “divides its time” between responding to user-reported messages and “proactively finding and removing servers and users” involved in “high-damage activities,” the company wrote in 2021. This Moderation approach developed after Discord learned that White Supremacists had used their app to organize the violent Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017.
“Trust & Safety has spent significant time since 2017 ensuring that another event like Charlottesville is not scheduled on our platform,” the company wrote last year.
As recently as 2019, Discord relied primarily on user reports to moderate its platform and did not actively monitor private or public servers, a PC gamer story from this year. While the company’s moderation team has the ability to read messages from private servers, Discord typically only did so when a message was reported by a user.
Saturday’s attack is being investigated as a hate crime, Buffalo police said. CNN reports that the suspect, identified as Payton S. Gendron, told authorities he was targeting a black community; 11 of those shot were black.
The suspect also reportedly used Discord to plan to livestream the attack. Video of the attack was broadcast live on Twitch, which claims to have stopped the stream “less than two minutes after the violence began.” Despite this, the footage has continued to circulate online as major platforms struggle to crack down on new uploads of the horrific footage.