Reddit and YouTube face lawsuits over alleged role in racist mass shooting

Reddit and YouTube face lawsuits for allegedly enabling a white supremacist’s mass shooting. Judge permits claims of addicting users and mental distress, despite platforms’ immunity arguments. Defendants vow to combat hate speech.

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A New York state judge directed Reddit and YouTube to face lawsuits that accuse them of being accountable for their alleged role in enabling a white supremacist who perpetrated a racially motivated mass shooting in 2022 at a Buffalo grocery store.

Justice Paula Feroleto permitted 25 plaintiffs, including witnesses of the shooting and relatives of victims, to proceed with claims that the platforms contributed to addicting and radicalizing users, ultimately facilitating the shooter, Payton Gendron. Despite Reddit and YouTube’s arguments of immunity under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act and the First Amendment, the judge allowed the plaintiffs to pursue negligence-based claims, citing the platforms’ potential duty owed to users due to defective design.

The decision highlighted the mental distress inflicted by the attack as a justifiable reason for the plaintiffs to seek damages. Both Reddit and YouTube expressed condolences for the victims and reiterated their commitment to combating hate speech and violence on their platforms.