The alleged gunman behind the Buffalo, New York attack, which left 10 dead and three injured on Saturday, used Discord to discuss and share plans ahead of the attack, according to Bloomberg†
As early as December, the suspect is said to have used a private server on the popular chat service to describe his intentions to carry out an attack. He later shared links to Discord logs detailing his plan of attack and white supremacist views, according to: Bloomberg† The report says the suspect named the terrorist who attacked a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, more than 30 times and used racist remarks and extremist phrases while on the app.
“As soon as we became aware of it, we took action and removed the server in accordance with our policy against violent extremism,” a Discord spokesperson said. Bloomberg† The company did not immediately respond to The edge‘s request for more information about the moderation policy.
Discord’s moderation team “divides its time” between responding to user-reported posts and “proactively finding and removing servers and users” engaged in “highly malicious activity,” the company wrote in 2021. That approach to moderation was adopted. created after Discord discovered that white supremacists had used their app to stage the violent Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017.
“Trust & Safety has spent a lot of time since 2017 making sure that another event like Charlottesville is not scheduled on our platform,” the company wrote last year.
As late as 2019, Discord relied primarily on user reports to moderate its platform and not actively monitor private or public servers, according to a PC gamer story of that year. The company’s moderation team has the ability to read messages from private servers, the story said, but Discord usually only did this when a message was reported by a user.
Saturday’s attack is under investigation 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 the people shot were black.
The suspect also allegedly used Discord 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 started”. Still, images continued to spread online as major platforms struggle to counter new uploads of the horrific images.