In Aftermath of Buffalo Shooting, Everytown Sends Letter to YouTube Highlighting Dangerous Videos Named in Diatribe by Shooter
New Letter Shows that YouTube Videos May Have Helped the Buffalo Mass Shooter Plan and Carry out Racist Attack, Violate YouTube’s Community Guidelines.
In December, Everytown Sent a Letter to YouTube About Their Dangerous Ghost Gun Content
NEW YORK – Today, Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund released a letter to YouTube urging the company to take action on videos that were referenced in the writings of the shooter in the Tops Friendly Market shooting that left 13 shot – 10 fatally, 11 Black. The videos were named in his diatribe released at the time of the shooting.
“These videos are a step-by-step guide on how to make firearms more lethal, and are out there for anyone to see, including extremists and white supremacists seeking to inflict maximum damage,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown Support Fund. “YouTube’s leaders need to put their conscience ahead of clicks, and stop hosting how-to manuals accessible to people who are blinded by hate and armed to the teeth.”
“The racist Buffalo domestic terrorist specifically cited YouTube videos that show how to modify firearms to make them more lethal – modifications that appear to have helped the shooter kill more Black people quicker,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action. “It’s shocking these videos were allowed on the platform to begin with, and inexcusable that they’re still on the platform. YouTube must act swiftly to remove these videos and prevent others from being published.”
“This isn’t the first time that instructional videos have been posted on YouTube showing how to make guns more lethal, and it won’t be the last without immediate change,” said Justin Wagner, Everytown’s senior director of investigations. “Disarming hate in our country includes making sure social media platforms do their part. YouTube needs to do more to manage and monitor their content. Everytown stands ready to assist them with addressing this issue immediately.”
The shooter in Buffalo didn’t act in a vacuum. Evidence shows he was initially radicalized online in spaces online where many of the lies and conspiracy theories propagated by the gun lobby run rampant. In his diatribe, he noted specific YouTube videos that appear to have informed his attack, demonstrating the danger of loose moderation on the site. As detailed in Everytown’s new letter, the shooter cited videos that explicitly instruct the viewer how to modify weapons, including modifications that would be illegal in New York State. Although tackling armed extremism and white supremacy requires a multi-pronged approach, and a recalibration of the fabric of our country, stopping easy access to firearms and regulating content that assists these attacks are immediate ways to address the deadliness of white supremacist extremism.
This is the second letter Everytown has sent to YouTube in the last year. In December, an Everytown investigation into the platform found dozens of videos which teach users how to construct deadly, untraceable ghost guns at home — using both prefabricated 80-percent-finished kits and 3D printers to construct firearms. Collectively, these videos have been viewed over 5.8 million times and the vast majority of the videos have been on the platform for years, some dating as far back as 2015. The letter urged YouTube to not only remove these specific videos, but to strengthen enforcement of its community guidelines that prohibit this content.
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