Actually, Youtube has guidelines for posting content related to guns. But as chat logs from the alleged Buffalo mass murderer suggest, the video platform isn’t enforcing its own rules adequately.
The suspected Buffalo mass murderer apparently learned how to illegally modify his gun from YouTube videos before committing his crime. This emerges from the online diaries of the 18-year-old, as reported by the US broadcaster NBC News. The suspect apparently referred to the films in chat logs of the messenger service Discord. One of the videos shows how to remove a magazine catch on a rifle to allow for faster reloading. Apparently he used it to convert his own weapon.
NBC News writes that the instructions were still available on YouTube as of Thursday evening — five days after the attack in New York State. And this despite the fact that some of the videos apparently violated the platform’s guidelines. Accordingly, films that show how to install accessories such as high-capacity magazines on weapons, for example, may not be posted there.
According to the broadcaster, YouTube initially did not respond to a request for comment on the videos.
Racist assassin killed 10 people in Buffalo
Advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund has urged the video channel to ensure users comply with its own terms of service in response to the suspect’s diary notes and clips. “I am writing to bring YouTube’s attention to the videos which appear to have assisted the Buffalo gunman in planning and executing his racist attack and which appear to violate YouTube’s community guidelines regarding firearms,” it said a letter from Everytown director Justin Wagner to the Google subsidiary. “Everytown requests that YouTube take immediate action to strengthen enforcement of its Community Guidelines regarding videos showing how to modify weapons.”
“The guidelines are there, but they’re not being enforced,” Wagner told NBC. “It’s teeming with videos showing how to modify a weapon to fire faster and do more damage.”
According to Everytown, a copy of the letter to YouTube was sent to the Attorney General of New York, who wants to investigate the role online services may have played in the Buffalo attack. There, an attacker with an assault rifle opened fire in front of and in a supermarket last Saturday, killing ten people and injuring three others. He was arrested at the scene of the crime. According to investigators, the assassination was racially motivated — 11 of the 13 victims were black. Buffalo has a majority black population.
The arrested man had apparently kept a detailed diary of his attack plans on Discord — under the username Jimboboiii. This is the same name he is said to have used to livestream the fatal shooting on the Twitch platform, NBC News further reports. Law enforcement confirmed that the suspect had and used accounts on Twitch, Discord and Steam.
Youtube has long been criticized for lack of controls
During research in December, NBC News said it discovered dozens of YouTube videos with step-by-step instructions for making “ghost guns” — despite a company policy banning such videos. “Ghost guns” are assembled from individual parts, unregistered firearms without a serial number. The instructions and kits for this usually come from the Internet. In February, five Democratic senators sent a letter urging YouTube to enforce its guidelines on firearms videos.
Quellen: NBC News, Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund