Social media increasingly links to mass shooting



On Wednesday, Texas authorities identified Salvador Ramos as the 18-year-old shooter who shot at Rob Elementary School in Uvalade, Texas. Ramos, who killed at least 19 students and two teachers during his shooting on Tuesday, has been accused of posting disturbing pictures online before carrying out the unprovoked attack.

According to the report, An Instagram account linked to Ramos showed annoying pictures. That account has since been removed.

Just last week, New York’s attorney general, Letia James, announced that her office was investigating social media companies while another mass shooter used online platforms to plan, publicize and stream a massacre at a Buffalo grocery store, killing 10 people. James said his office would investigate Twitch, 4chan, 8chan and Discord and other platforms that the shooter used to escalate the attack.

Many are asking if the warning sign has been missed.

“It’s impossible to stop people from threatening online,” explained William V. Pelfrey, Jr., PhD, professor at the Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs. Virginia Commonwealth University.

Yet he suggested that social media organizations have a moral obligation to detect and remove threatening messages.

“They’re usually overwhelmed by this. Direct threats (i.e. I want to shoot the president, I want to kill myself) are often flagged and investigated. Indirect threats are very difficult to identify and rarely get attention,” Pelfrey continued. “Many social media companies have a decision to make – to protect the rights of individuals in order to safeguard or threaten security. In Buffalo or many other places where extremist violent extremists are found, we hate to compromise on freedom of speech until we weigh that compromise.” I think. The motive for the murder. ”

Anti social network

Since U.S. President Joe Biden called it an “antisocial war” where the country is politically divided, the platforms that were once the subject of friendly discussions have turned into “antisocial networks” where people now find themselves in echo chambers expressing their views and opinions. Supports.

“Social media has increased ethnic, cultural and gender divisions in the United States and around the world,” he explained. Anthony Sillard, professor at Lewis Business School, Rome, and its author The Art of Living Free in the Digital Age.

Social media has enabled the actions of extremists to be live-streamed to the public.

“One aspect of the Buffalo shooting that is important for understanding its concept and operation is that it was not the work of one person,” Sillard added. “The shooter brought the community of his thoughts with him through the live stream. They were ready and ready to send horrific images of innocent people being slaughtered on the social media site, Twitch, in an impressive two minutes it could take it down. They succeeded. Millions watched them from the screen.

“While his thinking community was virtually present and ready, the shooter felt less alone and was motivated by the hate-mongering ideology of his group,” Sillard added. “There’s an important point for lawmakers to consider about the role of social media in this tragedy: it enabled quick, concerted action by a hate group.”

Lack of empathy

Social media has also been blamed for diminishing the sympathy of most Americans. It’s easy to “speak your mind” about someone on social media based on something they’ve tweeted or posted on Facebook. Even people with similar interests may find themselves in a serious flare-up which becomes hostile.

This is common with posts in emails, newsgroups and online forums, but has grown significantly in the age of social media.

“One of the primary reasons why social media is so dangerous for a healthy society is that it reduces empathy. Town hall meetings have become a healthy medium for cross-isle conversations because people had to listen to each other, even when they disagreed.” “Now that these conversations have gone online, empathy has taken to the streets. For example, a recent meta-analysis of seventy-two studies conducted between 1979 and 2009 found that American college students’ empathy levels dropped by 40 percent, which the authors initially socialized,” Blamed for the rise. “

Social media platforms have largely failed to address the issue, and in some cases it has only served to radicalize individuals, such as recent mass shooters.

“Social media companies like Facebook have promised us that its services will encourage people to take more care of each other and express their authentic opinions online and in person. Nothing has happened,” Sillard warned. “Instead, recent Pew research has shown that people now speak less personally for fear of reprisals. Why? Social media has helped them understand that there are so many opposing views they would not like to face.”


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