UVALDE, Texas (KXAN) – In the week following the Robb Elementary mass shooting in Uvalde, Nexstar’s KXAN obtained new information about the alleged gunman, Salvador Ramos, and his social media activity.
Sean Colvin, 18, of Virginia the news station he has known Ramos for the last year via Yubo, a relatively new social media company based in Paris, France that established its presence in the U.S. in 2020 when it opened its new American headquarters in Jacksonville, Florida.
“We talked on a daily basis,” Colvin said.
According to its official website, Yubo has a global community of 40 million users who socialize through livestreams, chats, and group games.
“Yubo is a space where anyone can belong,” its website stated.
Colvin said he doesn’t know how Ramos found him on Yubo a year ago, but Ramos joined their group video livestreaming sessions daily. Colvin told KXAN he was certain the person identified as the gunman is the same person he had countless video interactions with on Yubo.
Colvin described Ramos as an angry person who was always arguing with people, but at other times appeared emotionless.
“When people argued with him, he always said, ‘you’ll know who I am. You’ll know what I did. You’ll remember my name,’” Colvin said.
Colvin told KXAN that Ramos frequently made threats about shooting others, but the group always thought it was a joke, and he just had a dark sense of humor.
KXAN reached out to Yubo and asked if Ramos had ever been reported for violating the company’s content guidelines and whether Yubo had ever taken action against Ramos’ account.
A Yubo spokesperson provided KXAN the following response:
“We are fully cooperating with law enforcement officials. At this time, we are keeping details on individual user data and activity on our platform confidential as to not hinder efforts during an active police investigation.
Yubo recognizes and takes seriously our responsibility for the safety of our users. We work closely with governments, NGOs and charities, and have created a safety board made up of world-class industry safety experts to advise Yubo’s safety practices and tools, which go well above industry standards.
We take a proactive approach to improving and developing safeguards for users while on the app and prioritize safety innovation above all else, which includes accessible reporting, age and identity verification, and a combination of AI detection tools and human moderation. Advanced AI filters that not only monitor chats, but also video during live streams, by taking second-by-second screenshots and flagging suspicious content to human moderators in real time.
We remain committed to continually enhancing our safety measures on the app. In the coming days we will provide detailed information on new developments designed to further strengthen these measures.”
KXAN reached out to the Austin Regional Intelligence Center (ARIC) to learn more about the process between social media monitoring and law enforcement involvement.
ARIC told KXAN it does not use social monitoring tools and will only monitor social media if there is a clear criminal or terroristic threat.
According to ARIC, “It is up to the social media company to self-report. If they report, they usually report to a federal agency that would then forward the information to the ARIC. The ARIC also receives reports about social media threats from other users of the social media.”
Colvin told KXAN the last time Ramos joined their Yubo livestream was on the Saturday before the shooting. According to Colvin, Ramos was not his typical argumentative self and said Ramos just sat there for hours listening to others without interacting.
“None of us expected him to do what he did on Tuesday,” Colvin said.