OPHI analyses Buffalo attack

May 17, 2022 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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Following the terrorist attack in Buffalo, New York, on the weekend, the Online Hate Prevention Institute (OHPI), an Australian charity, has been analysing the attack and working to reduce the risk of it inciting further attacks.

Andre Oboler

As part of that work, OHPI successfully secured the removal of a viral video of the attack which came from live streaming by the attacker.

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 an attack in which he shot and killed 10 people.

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. Dr Oboler explained how from 4pm on Saturday they worked to track a copy of the video that was going viral to secure its removal. “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.”

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