Scene of a shooting at a TOPS supermarket in Buffalo, New York
Scene of a shooting at a TOPS supermarket in Buffalo, New YorkREUTERS/Brendan McDermid

A new pair of lawsuits announced Wednesday on behalf of a victim’s family and survivors of the May 2022 mass shooting at Tops supermarket in Buffalo, New York, alleges that the gunman became "addicted" to social media platforms that "shepherded him along the path of radicalization", Fox News reports.

The complementary lawsuits were filed by Everytown Law, the litigation arm of Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund, in state court in Buffalo.

They allege that YouTube – as well as its parent companies Alphabet Inc. and Google – and Reddit contributed to the "radicalization" of the gunman, Payton Gendron, who was 18 years old when he carried out the May 14, 2022, attack.

Ten people were killed, all of them Black, and three others were wounded. Authorities said Gendron drove 200 miles from his home in Conklin, New York, after conducting online research to choose a target.

"The kind of design features and recommendation algorithms used by these websites have a well-documented tendency to addict teenagers, amplify hateful conspiracy theories, radicalize young men to extremism, and promote gun violence. This is precisely what happened here," Everytown Law wrote.

The first suit was filed on behalf of Wayne Jones, the son of 65-year-old Celestine Chaney, one of the 10 people killed. The second suit seeks compensation for 16 survivors who argue that, while they were not shot, they suffered "lasting harm and severe emotional distress" as a result of being at the scene.

The lawsuits argue that YouTube and its parent companies "contributed to his radicalization and helped him acquire information he needed to equip himself for and carry out the mass shooting, including video instruction on how to remove the magazine lock, defeat and kill an armed security guard in a gunfight, and conduct a deadlier mass shooting."

Gendron pleaded guilty in November to crimes including murder and domestic terrorism motivated by hate, a charge that carried an automatic life sentence.

In February, he was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Prior to the shooting, Gendron uploaded a manifesto to the internet, warning of “white genocide”, citing low birthrates among people of European heritage across the globe, and higher birthrates among non-white populations.

A document posted online by the suspect detailed his initial plans weeks before the shooting.