NEW YORK — With officials concerned about New York facing looming threats of violence, Gov. Kathy Hochul on Tuesday morning announced new steps she’ll be taking to beef up security and deal with online threats and radicalization.
The governor outlined several initiatives to stop hate speech online from becoming hate crimes in the state.
Included in the plan is $3 million to ensure every college campus has a threat assessment and management team on site to identify threats, targeted ads offering help for parents to identify if their child is involved in hate speech online, and media literacy tools for all public school students to make them smarter about identifying misinformation online.
The announcement came after
The report says, “The expansion of Israeli operations against Hamas in the Gaza Strip and increase in civilian casualties raises the likelihood that violent extremist threat actors will seek to conduct attacks against targets in the West, with New York state being a focus. Terrorist messaging has placed focus on attacking ‘soft targets’ such as protests, group gatherings, and other public events.”
Hochul spoke Tuesday about how the online threat assessment teams will work.
“They’re not looking at your Instagram sunset posts or your tweets about your favorite football team, and they’re not here to penalize anyone for their political views. They have a simple goal, to find out what’s driving hateful behavior and intervene early before harm is done,” the governor said.
She also said she reached out to social media companies to criticize them for not better monitoring hate online.
“They say they’re monitoring for hate speech and I’d say there are instances where you’re not successful. So, ramp up the number of people who are in charge of monitoring, because if my state police can find it, if college students can find it, the people you hire to find it should be able to do so and take it down immediately,” Hochul said.
The governor said hate crimes against Jews, Muslims and Arabs have increased by more than 400% since Hamas attacked Israel on Oct. 7.
“Are we living in a heightened threat environment? Absolutely. Are we seeing an increase in calls for violence? Absolutely. Those calls are coming from outside the country and inside, but there are no credible threats to the parade or to New York at this time,” said Jackie Bay, commissioner of the Department of Homeland Security’s New York State Division. “Everyone should feel absolutely safe going out there and enjoying the holiday.”
The governor pointed to the success of this month’s marathon as proof that her team is remaining vigilant about securing all large scale events happening in the city.
She is reminding all New Yorkers to be vigilant as well.