It was a series of tweets that sent the NYPD and the FBI on the trail of two Nazis who wanted to shoot up a synagogue, and it was Twitter and other social media that Mayor Adams pointed out on Monday as aiming to clear up his actions after the arrest of the suspects.

Adams and other top officials lauded the role that law enforcement and community groups played in the arrests of Christopher Brown and Matthew Mahrer, but also placed some of the blame for the life-threatening situation they created at the foot of social media – for giving them, but many others, a platform to sow rhetoric and plans fueled by hatred.

“Knowingly or unintentionally, social media has become a platform that has helped organize and fuel hatred in our country — and the world. And they need to become more responsible,” Adams said during a press conference in the city hall rotunda. “They have to reckon with their platforms being used to spread hate and violence. She’s gone from just spreading hate. It is now being used as a tool to spread violence.”

Adams’ criticism comes as Twitter and its new CEO Elon Musk set themselves on fire for gutting the company’s employees and bringing former President Donald Trump back to the platform. Trump was banned from Twitter last year for tweeting about the January 6 Capitol Uprising – tweets the company deemed a violation of its policy against incitement to violence. Musk reinstated Trump after releasing a poll on whether he should be allowed back.

Hip-hop star Kanye West was recently reinstated on Twitter after being banned for anti-Semitic tweets. And Brooklyn Nets quarterback Kyrie Irving was suspended from the NBA after addressing an anti-Semitic video on social media. He returned to football at Barclay’s Center over the weekend.

    Twitter logo seen on a mobile phone, Friday, October 14, 2022, Boston, Massachusetts.

When asked about West and Irving – and Twitter’s decision to reinstate Trump – Adams declined to address these specific situations directly.

Law enforcement officials became aware of the alleged plot by Brown and Mahrer after the Social Security Initiative, which monitors anti-Jewish hate speech online, alerted them to alarming conversations broadcast from a now-defunct Twitter account allegedly controlled by Brown.

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Mitchell Silber, Executive Director of the Hate Speech and Other Indications that someone is planning violence.

“On Friday morning, around 10am, while analyzing the internet, they identified a disturbing text from this person talking about an att*ck on a synagogue, talking about 10pm at night, talking about a potential d*ath at the hands of the police,” he said. He said. “We sent him to two places. We sent it to the FBI in New York and sent it to the NYPD’s intelligence department.

Information gleaned by Silber’s Twitter group was helpful in catching two of the suspects.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams (bottom center) holds a press conference at City Hall in Lower Manhattan, New York City on Monday, November 21, 2022 to discuss the coordinated efforts that have stopped the att*ck on the Jewish community.

Silber noted that in recent weeks, with the acquisition of Musk, Twitter began to resemble more fringe platforms like 4chan and 8chan, which helped debunk the QAnon conspiracy theory. He blamed it on massive layoffs on Twitter and the fact that many of the site’s content regulators no longer work there.

“There is a lot of hate on Twitter that is not being removed. That’s why we need to treat Twitter in a way like 4chan, 8chan or Gab – so you can see vicious, hateful comments there that can lead to violence,” he said. “No one seems to oversee what content is allowed on Twitter. So it’s a serious problem that you hear is manifesting itself as a potential lethal att*ck.”

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