‘Spreading like wildfire’: NY Gov. Kathy Hochul demands tech CEOs remove radicalizing content like the alleged Buffalo shooter’s ‘bone-chilling’ manifesto

New York State Governor Kathy Hochul speaks during a press conference at the site of a shooting at the 36 St subway station on April 12, 2022 in New York City.

New York’s latest mass shooting was outlined in an online manifesto.
Gov. Kathy Hochul wants social media leaders to stop similar content from reaching others. 
She said its widespread distribution “is what is so fundamentally disturbing about all this.”

Social media companies need to stop the dissemination of racist conspiracy theories like those featured in the “bone-chilling” manifesto attributed to the nation’s latest alleged mass shooter, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said Sunday. 

“This is spreading like wildfire,” Hochul told CNN “State of the Union” host Dana Bash during an interview from Buffalo, New York. That’s where 18-year-old Payton Gendron of Conklin, New York, who has been charged with first-degree murder, allegedly opened fire at a Tops grocery store in what officials described as a racially motivated attack that left 10 people dead. 

Hochul urged CEOs helming popular social media hubs to halt the radicalization of impressionable Americans by taking down the hateful material before it influences others. 

“This can not be part of our mainstream dialogue,” Hochul said. She added that the prospect of having hateful rhetoric like the manifesto shared with the rest of the world “is what is so fundamentally disturbing about all this.” 

According to the racist and anti-semitic manifesto posted online, Gendron chose that particular location because it had the highest percentage of Black residents near his home. 11 of the 13 people shot at Tops on Saturday were Black — including a security guard who confronted Gendron — and two were white. 

The manifesto referenced the so-called replacement theory, a conspiracy theory popular with white supremacists, which claims whites are being replaced by people of color. 

It also indicated that Gendron was inspired by other mass shooters, including Dylann Roof, who killed nine Black church members during a Bible study session in South Carolina in 2015, and Brenton Tarrant, who killed 51 people at mosques in New Zealand in 2019.

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