This decision comes amid heightened tensions in Israel and Gaza, but is largely seen as just another attempt by Hochul to overstep the people's freedom of speech.
The governor outlined plans to bolster personnel within the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) and allocate an additional $2.5 million to the State Police.
"We're very focused on the data we're collecting from surveillance efforts, what's being said on social media platforms, and we have launched an effort to be able to counter some of the negativity and reach out to people," said Hochul.
She stressed the importance of monitoring hate speech on online platforms, highlighting the efforts of the social media analysis unit to intensify surveillance and identify incitement to violence and direct threats. (Related: Twitter Files: US government helped launch project where millions of online posts were flagged for censorship.)
"All this is in response to our desire, our strong commitment to ensure that not only do New Yorkers be safe, but they also feel safe," added Hochul.
The NYPD Hate Crime Task Force reported a significant surge of 124 percent in bias incidents investigated in October, primarily driven by a 214 percent increase in anti-Jewish incidents. Anti-Muslim incidents also rose from zero to eight in October.
However, the overall trend for hate crime investigations year-to-date showed a decrease of nine percent.
This move isn't the first time the governor has delved into monitoring online speech.
A New York law addressing "hateful conduct" online, signed by Hochul, was previously blocked by a judge. The law aimed to compel social media networks to report and address actions that promote violence or vilify based on various identity factors.
Judge Andrew L. Carter, Jr. deemed the law unconstitutional, asserting that it violated the First Amendment by restricting user speech and compelling social media networks to endorse the state's definition of hateful conduct.
The additional $2.5 million allocated to the New York State Police will support the deployment of 10 additional investigators in key areas like New York City, Albany, Buffalo, and Rochester, ensuring comprehensive coverage across JTTF investigative groups.
Hochul is committed to combating all forms of hatred, particularly following the Hamas terror attacks, which have been accompanied by a reported surge in anti-Semitic and Islamophobic incidents.
She emphasized the immediate deployment of the New York State Police on October 7 to safeguard vulnerable communities, and this latest initiative seeks to bolster resources for the JTTF as a critical step in safeguarding New Yorkers from both domestic and international threats.
The increased investment empowers the New York State Police to act as a force multiplier for the JTTF, ensuring thorough examination and investigation of all cases with New York State connections. It also strengthens collaboration between the JTTF and the New York State Intelligence Center Counter-Terrorism Center, expanding involvement in investigations related to racially motivated violent extremists, domestic violent extremist groups and anti-government/anti-authority violent extremists.
Watch this clip tackling online censorship.
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