The buffalo shooter invited others to his personal Discord ‘diary’ 30 minutes before the attack

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Discord has provided more information on how the Buffalo, New York supermarket shooter used his services over the weekend prior to the incident. tragic act of violence.

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The shooter, 18-year-old Payton Gendron, has been charged with first-degree murder in a mass shooting that left 10 people died and three wounded. A month before the attack on the Buffalo Tops grocery store, which he researched and chose to harm as many blacks as possible, he used Discord to document his plans in great detail.

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According to Discord, the suspected shooter set up a private invite-only server that he used as a “personal diary chat log”. There were no other participants on the server for 30 minutes before the attack began, when a “small group of people” received an invitation and joined.

“Prior to this, our records show that other people have not seen the diary chat log on this private server,” a Discord spokesperson told TechCrunch. TechCrunch reached out to the company for more details on server activity and how it handles moderation of private servers and messages.

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Discord, the text and voice chat app, is best known for its large public messaging rooms, but it also allows users to create invite-only private servers. In updates to a Discord server whose username matches the username on the Twitch channel he used to live stream the shooting, the suspect has documented his violent racist views in detail. He also detailed the logistics of how he would conduct the mass shooting, including the equipment he would use, his shopping trips leading up to the shooting, and his plans for the day.

While it is not known what other Discord servers Gendron has been active on, he references his in-app activity in the chat logs. “Until now, I didn’t even think that people in my discord groups would probably not get hit by ATF and FBI agents,” he wrote. While Discord served as a sort of digital journal of the atrocities he would later commit, he also compiled a nearly 200-page screen shot of his beliefs, weapons, and plan to commit violence in Google Docs.

In early May, he expressed concern that Google might discover his plan of violence in messages sent to a private Discord server. “Ok, I’m a little concerned that a Google employee will see my manifesto getting fucked,” he wrote. “WHY did I write this in the google docs, I must have had some other solution.” Unfortunately, these fears turned out to be unfounded. After the shooting, Google removed the document for violating terms of service.

The suspect, who broadcast the shooting on Twitch, also spent time on 4chan /pol/, a notorious message board rife with racism, misogyny and extremism. Unlike popular social networks like Discord, 4chan does not actively moderate content and only remove illegal content when necessary. In the Discord chat logs. In a TechCrunch review, the shooter notes that he “really became a racist” only after being exposed to white supremacist ideas on 4chan.

Five years ago, Discord was involved in the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, an open gathering of white supremacists and other far-right extremists that ended in the death of one counter-protester. Rally attendees and organizers gathered on private Discord servers to plan out the day’s events and discuss the logistics of what’s going to happen in Charlottesville. The company responded to suppression of a number of servers hosting extremismthough he claimed not to have read messages on private servers.

Like Reddit, much of Discord’s practical moderation is done by community moderators in its chat rooms. And, like most social companies, Discord relies on a combination of automatic content crawling and human moderators. Last year the company acquired Sentropyan artificial intelligence software company that identifies and eliminates online hate and harassment to support these efforts.

In the years following the deadly violence in Charlottesville, Discord has successfully sought to distance itself from its ties to the far-right extremists and white supremacists who once called the social network home. More recently, Discord has also moved away from its current brand and origins as a popular chat app for gamers, turning itself into an attractive hub for a huge range of thriving online communities.

“Our deepest condolences to the victims and their families,” a Discord spokesperson said of the Buffalo tragedy, adding that he is assisting law enforcement with the ongoing investigation. “There is no place for hate in Discord and we are committed to fighting violence and extremism.”

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