August 17, 2023

More Buffalo Shooting Survivors File Lawsuits Saying Social Media Companies Enabled The Killer


Buffalo shooting survivors have filed two lawsuits claiming that YouTube, Reddit and a body armor manufacturer enabled the gunman to kill 10 Black people in a racist attack. 

The two lawsuits are the latest attempts to hold social media companies accountable for their role in the mass murders.

The Buffalo Shooting

The 2022 Buffalo mass shooting has sparked a legal battle to hold social media companies responsible for their platforms’ role in radicalization.

Earlier this year, two lawsuits were launched by the victims’ loved ones, seeking accountability from tech giants such as Facebook, Reddit and Alphabet.

The suits allege that the algorithms and content on these platforms contributed to the racist attack that resulted in the deaths of ten Black people.

The Pair Of Lawsuits

According to Politico, Everytown Law filed the lawsuits and claimed that several companies and individuals enabled the massacre at Tops supermarket.

The suits were filed on Tuesday for the son of a 65-year-old victim and other survivors still traumatized by the devastating shooting.

After working at Tops the day of the shooting, Fragrance Harris Stanfield said at a news conference, “I still live with those images every day. It’s part of my life. For the rest of my life, I will have it in my mind.”

The other lawsuit was brought on behalf of Wayne Jones, the son of Celestine Chaney, who was killed while shopping with her older sister.

The lawsuits accuse the defendants of helping to provide the gunman with motivation, equipment, or knowledge.

RMA Armament was named the provider of the body armor 18-year-old Payton Gendron wore when he opened fire at the Tops Market. Vintage Firearms of Endicott, New York, has been named for selling the shooter the weapon he used in the attack.

YouTube, Alphabet Inc and Google have been accused of contributing to the gunman’s radicalization and helping him acquire information to plan the attack.

“We aim to change the corporate and individual calculus so that every company and every parent recognizes they have a role to play in preventing future gun violence,” said Eric Tirshwell, executive director of Everytown Law.

Feature Image Credit: The Associated Press

Sara Keenan

Tech Reporter at POCIT. Following her master's degree in journalism, Sara cultivated a deep passion for writing and driving positive change for Black and Brown individuals across all areas of life. This passion expanded to include the experiences of Black and Brown people in tech thanks to her internship experience as an editorial assistant at a tech startup.