Discord has shed additional light on the activities of the gunman before the sad act of violence that took place over the weekend in a supermarket in Buffalo, New York. Ten people were killed and three more were injured in the mass shooting, which the gunman, 18-year-old Payton Gendron, is accused of committing in the first degree. He utilized Discord to meticulously lay out his intentions in the month before the attack on the Buffalo Tops grocery store, which he carefully considered and chose in order to injure as many Black people as possible.
The alleged shooter constructed a secret, invite-only Discord channel that he allegedly used as a “personal journal conversation log.” Up until 30 minutes before to the attack, the server was empty; nonetheless, a “small number of people” accepted an invitation and joined. A Discord representative told TechCrunch that prior to that, “Our records suggest no other users viewed the diary chat log in this private server.” In light of the continuing investigation, the business refuses to offer more information regarding the server, the users that joined, or their conduct.
Discord outlined the “combination of proactive and reactive technologies” it uses to monitor material in a statement to TechCrunch, including machine learning, community moderators, and user reporting systems. The company’s safety team also keeps an eye on the servers of the social network and takes action in response to “platform patterns or information” that is noticed there. A Discord representative stated, “We have a dedicated Counter-Extremism sub-team that strives to detect and remove any areas where users are gathering around violent and hateful ideas that target racial, ethnic, and religious minorities before they are reported to us.” Additionally, the team “works to identify and take down violent and hateful networks that utilize Discord to distribute extremist content.”
The popular text and voice chat program Discord is most known for its big, open message rooms, but it also lets users build exclusive, invite-only servers. The suspect extensively described his violent, racist beliefs in postings to the Discord server, which has a nickname similar to the Twitch channel he used to webcast the shooting. In addition, he spoke into depth about the equipment he would use, his pre-shooting shopping visits, and his day-of preparations for the mass massacre.
Although the other Discord servers Gendron participated in are unclear, he makes mention of his activities on the program in the conversation logs. The members of his Discord groups “are likely going to be no knock raided by ATF and FBI investigators,” he added. “I didn’t even think about it till now.” He kept a sort of digital log of the crimes he would eventually conduct in Discord, but he also wrote a roughly 200-page manifesto about his ideals, his arsenal, and his intended acts of violence in Google Docs.
He expressed worry about Google finding his violent plans in messages received on the personal Discord channel at the beginning of May. Okay, I’m a little anxious that a Google employee will see my manifesto fuck, he wrote. Why did I use Google Docs when there should have been another option? Sadly, their worries turned out to be baseless. Google did take down the document after the incident because it broke its terms of service.
The suspect spent time on 4chan’s /pol, a notorious submessage board replete with racism, sexism, and extremism. The suspect livestreamed the shooting on Twitch. Contrary to popular social networks like Discord, 4chan does not actively moderate its content and only takes down unlawful material when necessary. The gunman states in Discord conversation records examined by TechCrunch that he “just really went racist” after coming across white nationalist ideologies on 4chan.