Our Response to the Tragedy in Buffalo

Warning - The below includes references to violent and potentially disturbing content.

On Saturday, May 14, 2022, a white gunman targeted a predominantly Black community in Buffalo, New York and carried out a mass shooting in a supermarket. We were devastated to learn the suspect had written of his intentions in his private Discord server.

We extend our deepest sympathy to the victims and families of the shooting, and the communities to which they belong. The massacre was a hate crime and a stark display of the grave dangers of white supremacy. We denounce white supremacy and actions that stem from it in the strongest possible terms.

Immediately upon learning of the attack, we began cooperating with law enforcement regarding the suspect’s activity on Discord. While there are limitations to what we can share due to an ongoing investigation, below is what we can confirm at this time:

  • The suspect kept a personal diary of his plans within a private Discord server, which was visible only to him.
  • This private server and personal diary within were not visible or accessible to other Discord users prior to the afternoon of May 14, 2022.
  • During the 30 minutes leading up to the attack, the suspect shared invitations to view his private server with this personal diary within a small number of other private servers and direct messages (DMs). The invitations were only available in these servers and DMs and were not accessible to the broader Discord community.
  • 15 users clicked on the invitation and would have had access to his private server and its content. No one else joined.
  • We did not receive any reports about his activity or the contents of his private server at any point prior to the attack.
  • We are aware that the suspect was active elsewhere on Discord, but we have not found any references to his attack plans outside of his private server.

These are the actions we have taken so far:

  • Banned the suspect’s account, removed the private Discord server containing the personal diary, and archived the server’s contents for a thorough investigation.
  • Expedited our production of evidence to law enforcement, including the FBI, to ensure their investigation can proceed quickly.
  • Partnered with industry groups, including the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism, to advise and assist in collaborating with other tech companies as we investigate.
  • Implemented measures to prevent the spread of content related to the attacks.  
  • Identified and removed accounts of malicious actors who we found to be creating fake Discord chat logs to trick law enforcement and media outlets.

Safety is a vital priority for our company and 15% of all Discord employees work in this area. We use a mix of proactive and reactive measures which include automated search tools, empowering community moderators to uphold our policies, and also providing reporting mechanisms for users and community moderators to surface violations for us to action. The Safety team investigates and takes prompt action when we receive a report about illegal activity or policy violations.

We understand hateful ideologies and proponents of organized violence will persist online and offline, and we acknowledge that we must do more to remove hate and violent extremism from Discord. We created Discord to be a place for people to find belonging, and hate and violence are in direct opposition to our mission. We take our commitment to these principles seriously and will continue to invest in and deploy resources.

Combating hate, violence, and extremism is the responsibility of all of us, online platforms included, and our work here never stops.


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