Technology

Yubo livestreaming app cooperating with law enforcement on Texas shooting investigation

Yubo, a livestreaming app marketed toward teenagers, is cooperating with law enforcement on the investigation into the Uvalde, Texas, mass shooting as reports emerge that the gunman used the platform to discuss his plans before carrying out the attack. 

Salvador Ramos, the 18-year-old gunman who was killed by law enforcement during the shooting, exchanged messages on the platform with a 15-year-old girl in Germany earlier on the day of the attack saying he was going to shoot his grandmother and “shoot up” an elementary school, The New York Times reported Wednesday, citing screenshots provided by the girl he spoke with, identified by her nickname Cece.

Ramos also reportedly used the platform, which allows users to live video chat or send text-based messages to strangers they connect with, for video calls with Cece earlier in the month when he told her he was purchasing an AR-15 rifle, the Times reported. 

Cece is just one of more than a dozen users who said they interacted with Ramos on the platform and received seemingly disturbing messages, according to reports. 

A Yubo spokesperson confirmed in a statement Friday that the company is cooperating with law enforcement and investigating a since-banned account, but declined to share details on the investigation into the account. 

“We are deeply saddened by this unspeakable loss and are fully cooperating with law enforcement on their investigation. At this stage, we are not legally able to release any specific user information outside of direct requests from law enforcement, but can confirm that we are investigating an account that has since been banned from the platform,” the spokesperson said. 

Another Yubo user, who lives in Greece, told ABC News that Ramos was on the platform the day before the shooting and implied something would occur the next day. That user told ABC News she tried to report Ramos to Yubo but “regardless of how many times he was reported … he would still come back.”

More than a dozen people told ABC News that Ramos sent them concerning messages across multiple social media platforms. Most of the users who say Ramos messaged them in the days leading up to Tuesday’s mass shooting at an elementary school told ABC News they were first contacted by him on Yubo. 

Yubo, based in France, operates similarly to popular dating apps for adults, allowing teen users to swipe through others on the app. Users can also meet in livestreaming rooms or on games on the app. 

It is branded in its app store description as a “social platform where you can find new friends” through “authentic interactions” and “all based on your own interests.” 

The mass shooting in Uvalde, which killed 19 students and two teachers, occurred 10 days after a mass shooting at a Buffalo, N.Y., grocery store that killed 10 people. 

Lawmakers and officials, including New York Attorney General Letitia James (D), have targeted the role of social media platforms in that attack, too. 

The suspected gunman in the Buffalo attack, Payton Gendron, reportedly livestreamed the shooting on Twitch and posted details of his plans on Discord.

Tags Mass shooting Salvador Ramos School shooting Social media Uvalde shooting Yubo

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