Kathy Hochul says social media companies should do ‘better job monitoring the hate speech’ after shooting

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New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, D., tasked social media companies with doing a better job monitoring speech on their platforms following the deadly mass shooting at a supermarket in Buffalo Saturday.

A gunman opened fire in a Tops Friendly Markets grocery store Saturday, killing 10 people and wounding three more, Buffalo police commissioner Joseph Gramaglia revealed in a press conference. Eleven of the victims are Black and two are White, according to authorities. The suspect, an 18-year-old White male named Payton Gendron, is being charged with first-degree murder and pleaded not guilty Saturday night. He is due back in court Thursday for a felony hearing.

The suspected shooter had published an approximately 180-page manifesto online before the shooting, in which he described himself as a White supremacist and detailed his fears that White people are being replaced by other races. He was likely planning the attack for months in advance, according to authorities. 

Kathy Hochul says social media companies should do 'better job monitoring the hate speech' after shooting

A person walks past the scene of a shooting at a supermarket, in Buffalo, N.Y., Sunday, May 15, 2022. 
(AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Hochul argued that one of the first orders of business was for social media companies to more ly monitor the content on their platforms.

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“We’re very concerned about what other information is perpetrated out there on social media platforms and are out there being disseminated globally,” Hochul said Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “So this information from yesterday’s attack is already out there. It was live-streamed. The intent of this individual was telegraphed in advance. So. I’m calling on social media platforms to be making sure that they’re doing a better job monitoring the hate speech that’s out there, especially when it’s directed against populations and comes under the guise of white supremacy, terrorism, which is exactly what happened here in Buffalo.” 

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“Face the Nation” host Margaret Brennan asked the governor how companies could better regulate “without impeding on free speech.”

Kathy Hochul says social media companies should do 'better job monitoring the hate speech' after shooting

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul speaks at a news conference in the Brooklyn borough of New York, Tuesday, April 12, 2022.
(AP Photo/John Minchillo)

“We also want them to be more vigilant and use the resources they have to hire more people, change their algorithms, be able to identify the second that this hate speech appears, and let there be a determination by law enforcement quickly,” she said.

“I will protect the right to free speech, but there is a limit, there is a limit to what you can do in hate crimes. Hate speech is not protected,” Hochul similarly said on ABC’s “This Week.” 

The debate over the monitoring of social media speech has been at the forefront in recent weeks after billionaire Elon Musk announced he was buying Twitter and said he intended to be a “free speech absolutist.”

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Asked by Brennan if there should be a federal statute following New York’s lead classifying assault based on race or religion as a terror, Hochul replied in the affirmative.

“Yes,” Hochul said. “Federal terrorism. There are domestic terrorism laws on the books. This can be prosecuted under state or federal laws right now. It started with our district attorney at the state level. So this individual is not going to see the light of day again, whether it’s under federal prosecution or state under our domestic terrorism laws or just murder one. This person murdered ten innocent victims in our community just yesterday.”

Kathy Hochul says social media companies should do 'better job monitoring the hate speech' after shooting

Police walk by a small memorial as they investigate after a shooting at a supermarket on Saturday, May 14, 2022, in Buffalo, N.Y. 
(AP Photo/Joshua Bessex)

Among those killed in Saturday’s shooting was Retired Buffalo Police officer Aaron Salter, who died trying to protect shoppers from the gunman. He worked as a security guard at the grocery store and shot the suspect multiple times before the latter fatally shot him.

He is being called a hero by local police.

Fox News’ Adam Sabes contributed to this report.

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