The Biggest Streaming Company Is Being Investigated For Criminal Activity

By Jason Collins | 1 month ago

twitch

Ever since the rise of Facebook as a modern social media platform, social media has become an important tool in our daily lives, covering everything from communication, entertainment, and even education. However, it also had detrimental effects on certain individuals since it led to cyberbullying, social anxiety, depression, and exposure to age-inappropriate content. They can even influence the lives of entire nations, which is why Twitch, a gaming streaming service, is now being investigated by the NY Attorney.

In the wake of the horrific shooting that took place in Buffalo on May 14, the NY Attorney General Letitia James has launched an official investigation into the role social media might’ve played in the attack, as reported by Kotaku. The attack on the Buffalo supermarket took the lives of 10 people and is now being investigated as a hate crime, with social media, including Twitch, 4chan, 8chan, and Discord, playing a potentially important role in amplifying the perpetrator’s intentions and acts — as reported by the Attorney General’s press release.

The grim event took place only days after the NY Governor Katharine Hochul criticized the CEOs of social media platforms for not taking precautionary measures to detect and monitor hate speech and misinformation circulating on these networks. It’s worth mentioning that Twitch didn’t facilitate the spread of hate speech; according to Kotaku’s report, messaging and community apps such as Discord were at the center of the attack.

However, the Attorney General is investigating Twitch as well since the platform was used to broadcast the shooting in Buffalo. For those unacquainted with the Buffalo event, a reportedly white supremacist gunman allegedly killed ten people and injured another three in an attack targeting a Black community while streaming the entire event on Twitch — which was later shared across the social media spectrum, despite various platforms working round the clock to remove said videos.

A Discord spokesperson shared that the alleged shooter’s Discord server was private until minutes before the event took place when it was shared with a small group of people. The company also stated that it would cooperate with the investigation and do everything in its power to assist law enforcement. Twitch, on the other hand, said it worked hard to take down the feed within minutes, emphasizing its zero violence policy — violence and hate speech is something the platform’s been battling for quite some time.

Social media was a massive playground for social engineering, which continues to shape individual and collective actions across the globe. Twitch is not the only company to face controversy. For example, numerous users have departed Twitter after the company’s high-profile ban of Donald Trump for allegedly inciting violence that led to the Capitol riots last January. On the opposite side of the scale of regulated social media use is the unregulated one, like the free-speech-for-all app called Parler, which continues to struggle since being denied hosting services by almost all tech giants.

Unfortunately, the politicization and lobbyism in almost all spheres of life led to the identification of free speech with hate speech and vice versa, as well as attempts to compel speech, continue to lead to acts of hate. The impact social media has on our daily lives, as well as its role in spreading misinformation and hate speech, was perhaps best described in a docudrama, The Social Dilemma, which is currently available on Netflix and HBO. It’s a 94 minutes long documentary that’s worth every minute of its runtime.