Lawsuit Against Social Media Companies Including Meta, Google Says Racist Buffalo Tops Gunman Radicalized Online


The white gunman who murdered 10 black people in a racist attack at a Tops grocery store in Buffalo, New York, in 2022, has become radicalized online, lawyers representing the families of the victims said Wednesday as they announced a lawsuit. for powerful manslaughter against social media. companies, arms manufacturers and arms retailers.

“These social media companies knew or should have known that these algorithms will lead people to act in racist and violent ways,” civil rights lawyer Ben Crump said during a news conference.

“The manufacturers of these bulletproof vests should have known that this type of bulletproof vest leads to bloody massacres. And the gun dealers knew or should have known that these weapons would lead to harrowing murder. But yet everyone was looking the other way,» he continued.

The lawsuit was filed Wednesday in Erie County in state supreme court and names a dozen defendants, including Meta, Facebook and Instagram; Alphabet, Google and YouTube; Discord and 4Chan. Other companies named as defendants include RMA Armament, a manufacturer of bulletproof vests, and Vintage Firearms, LLC, a gun retailer.

Also named as defendants are Payton Gendron’s parents, Paul and Pamela Gendron, who should have known their son was planning the mass shooting, according to the lawsuit.

The Gendrons were not immediately reached for comment Wednesday. Representatives for Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram, were not contacted.

A spokesperson for YouTube, which is part of Alphabet-owned Google, said in a statement Wednesday: “We have the deepest sympathies for the victims and families of the horrific attack at Tops grocery store in Buffalo last year. Over the years, YouTube has invested in technology, equipment, and policies to identify and remove extremist content. We regularly work with law enforcement, other platforms, and civil society to share intelligence and best practices.»

Personnel with RMA Armament and Vintage Firearms could also not be contacted.

“By his own admission, Gendron, a vulnerable teenager, was not a racist until he became addicted to social media apps and was unsuspectingly drawn into a psychological vortex by flawed social media apps designed, marketed, and kicked out by the accused of social networks. and he fed a steady stream of racist and white supremacist propaganda and falsehoods by some of the products of those same defendants,” the lawsuit states. “Addiction to these flawed social media products drives users like Gendron into social isolation. Once isolated, Gendron became radicalized by overexposure to fringe and racist ideologies and was groomed for reckless and rampant conduct by gun and bulletproof vest defendants.»

Payton Gendron was 18 years old on May 14, 2022 when she drove more than 200 miles to Tops Friendly Markets and committed the massacre.

Police said Gendron broadcast live the moment he opened fire and continued to fire inside while wearing tactical gear.

He used an assault-style rifle used in the attack and was wearing a bulletproof vest and a helmet with a GoPro camera attached. Gendron appeared to have broadcast parts of the attack for less than two minutes on the Twitch platform.

Gendron was sentenced in February to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Minyvonne Burke and toby lyles contributed.

You may also like...