We are deeply saddened by the far-right terrorist attack in Buffalo, NY, over the weekend which killed 10 people and injured three. We express our condolence to the families of victims and to all who were caught up in this extremist attack. Since the incident, the Online Hate Prevention Institute (OHPI) has been analysing the attack and working to reduce the risk of this inciting further attacks. As part of that work, OHPI successfully secured the removal of a viral video taken by terrorist of his attack.
In his manifesto, the attacker described himself as a neo-Nazi unaffiliated with any group. He promoted white supremacy and antisemitism. The attack was a racial hate crime focused on the Black community. The attacker, one month shy of turning 19, was radicalised online over just 2 years to the point of carrying out this deadly attack.
Dr Andre Oboler, CEO of the Online Hate Prevention Institute, explained: “That radicalisation was a result of exposure to material inciting hate and violence in the online community /pol/ on 4chan – a large anonymous community that was intentionally radicalised into a neo-Nazism ideology almost a decade ago and which has been responsible for terrorist attacks at the Synagogues in Poway (USA) and Halle (Germany) in addition to other attacks including the 2019 attack on mosques in Christchurch. The attacker explained in his manifesto how the video of the Christchurch attack inspired him into carrying out this attack.”
The Online Hate Prevention Institute tracked a number of copies of this video. From 4pm on Saturday we worked to get one copy that was going vial removed. We reported it using the hosting company’s online reporting form and flagging it as terrorism. We tracked the growing viewership hourly as it rose from 100,000 views to over 3.2 Million by 5am on Sunday when we managed to secure its removal after a discussion with the Managing Director of the hosting service’s parent company. The live monitoring and push to remove the video was carried out in partnership with the New York based American Jewish Congress.
Dr Oboler warned, “Given the way the Christchurch video led to this attack, we are deeply concerned at the number of viewers of this video. Many may have saved copies and there is a risk of people distributing it to others who are on a similar path to violent extremism. It could well inspire further attacks in the future. Our work has mitigated this risk by significantly slowing the spread of the video.”
A full report and our evolving analysis can be seen at: https://ohpi.org.au/buffalo-terrorist-attack/
The Online Hate Prevention Institute is an Australian Charity that seeks to reduce the risk of harm from all forms of online hate and extremism. Founded in 2012, we are specialists with a track record of over 10 years of impact making the internet a safer place. Our work is made possible by public donations.