New York City Mayor Eric Adams is demanding tech companies do more to identify and remove violent rhetoric on their platforms after the man arrested for the Brooklyn subway shooting was discovered to have posted a series of racist and violent rants online.
Mayor Adams spoke on Sunday to ABC show this week where he was joined by NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell.
“I think social media must step up. There’s a corporate responsibility when we are watching hate brew online. We can identify, using artificial intelligence and other methods, to identify those who are talking about violence,” the mayor said.
Mr Adams did not single out any companies specifically but appeared to be referring to reports that suspected subway shooter Frank James had posted rants online about him and other politicians.
In videos posted to a now-terminated YouTube account, Mr James expressed violent sentiments about New York City residents including Hispanic Americans, homeless people, and Black people.
In one video, Mr James made the shocking claim that the US “need[s] to see more mass shootings”, while also speaking to his long history of mental health issues.
Mr James’s channel was removed by YouTube on Wednesday afternoon. However, according to NBC News, the channel’s content reappeared under different account names after he was arrested.
The Independent has reached out to YouTube for comment on the mayor’s remarks.
Mr James is accused of opening fire in a crowded rush-hour subway train car in Brooklyn on Tuesday after setting off at least one smoke bomb. Nearly a dozen people were injured by gunfire, but there were no fatalities. Following the shooting, Mr James escaped.
He was arrested on Wednesday after a citywide manhunt. Five New Yorkers are splitting a $50,000 reward after providing tips on his whereabouts to the NYPD.
Mr James also called 911 himself to alert authorities that he was in the East Village.
The 62-year-old was later charged in federal court with committing a terrorist attack on a mass transportation system, and is likely to face other accounts.
The New York mayor also said on Sunday that the number of police officers would be increased on city subways in response to the attack, along with other recent violent incidents on the transit system. I have noted that the NYPD had already added hundreds of officers in the subway system in recent years.
“We’re emerging more officers into the subway system. We recognize that people need to see a visible presence of police in the subway, and we’re endeavoring to make sure that happens,” Commissioner Sewell added.
Mr Adams also mentioned his ongoing campaign against “drill”, a type of music which is part of the trap genre, and that he has connected to gang violence in the past.
“You know my concerns about even, drill music,” Mr Adams, a former NYPD captain, told host George Stephanopoulos. “Not all drill music, but those that talks about inflicting violence on rival gangs, that is driving some of the shootings that we are seeing in parts of the Bronx.”
Mr Adams is a frequent critic of the drill subculture and in February met with New York-based musicians, including stars Maino and Bleezy DOD, after he called for their videos to be pulled from the internet. After the meeting, the performers accused the mayor of driving a false stigma against an integral part of the city’s culture.
“We tried to tell him the genre is all about the beat,” Bleezy DOD told Guardian in February.
“It has a grime to it, a different type of sound; it gives you a different type of energy. There’s no such thing as drill lyrics.”