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Twitter ‘deeply sorry’ for not acting on bomb suspect Cesar Sayoc

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Screen Shot 2018 10 26 at 7.49.44 PM
The Twitter account
belonging to Cesar Sayoc Jr., the suspect arrested for allegedly
mailing improvised explosive devices, is
suspended.

Twitter

  • Twitter said it is “deeply sorry” for failing to act on
    threatening tweets made by Cesar Sayoc, Jr., the 56-year-old
    Florida man who is suspected of sending improvised explosive
    devices to Democratic leaders.
  • Former congressional press secretary Rochelle Ritchie
    alerted Twitter of the tweets made by Sayoc, whose account
    contained several disturbing images and statements.
  • Twitter, in what appeared to be a boilerplate
    statement, said it “carefully” reviewed her case but “found
    that there was no violation of the Twitter Rules against
    abusive behavior,” according to a screenshot that Ritchie
    uploaded.

  • One of the tweets from Sayoc’s account warned Ritchie
    to “Hug your loved ones real close every time you leave you
    [sic] home.”
  • By Friday afternoon, Sayoc’s Twitter account was
    suspended.

Twitter said it is “deeply sorry” for failing to act on
threatening tweets made by Cesar Sayoc, Jr., the 56-year-old
Florida man who is suspected of sending improvised explosive
devices to Democratic leaders and critics of President Donald
Trump.

On October 11, Sayoc published a threatening tweet to former
congressional press secretary Rochelle Ritchie by telling her “We
will see you 4 sure.” Ritchie alerted Twitter of the tweet
made from Sayoc’s account, which contained several disturbing
images and statements.

“Hug your loved ones real close every time you leave you [sic]
home,” Sayoc said in the tweet with Ritchie’s picture and a
screenshot of a news story of a dead teenager.

Ritchie, who called the tweet a “bad idea,” reported the incident
to the company. Twitter, in what appeared to be a boilerplate
statement, said it “carefully” reviewed her case but “found that
there was no violation of the Twitter Rules against abusive
behavior,” according to a screenshot uploaded by Ritchie.

On Friday, police arrested and charged Sayoc, a pro-Trump
activist seen attending a Trump campaign rally in 2017. His
suspected
social media accounts
also featured threatening messages to
other Trump critics, including those whose names were on the
explosive packages sent to Democratic lawmakers.


Jack Dorsey
Jack Dorsey, CEO of
Twitter.

AP Photo/Jose Luis
Magana


Ritchie complained to Twitter after Sayoc’s tweets were
publicized: “Hey @Twitter remember when I reported the guy who
was making threats towards me after my appearance on @FoxNews and
you guys sent back a bs response about how you didn’t find it
that serious. Well guess what it’s the guy who has been sending
#bombs to high profile politicians!!!!”

By Friday afternoon, Sayoc’s Twitter account was suspended.

“We made a mistake when Rochelle Ritchie first alerted us to the
threat made against her,” the company said in a statement. “The
Tweet clearly violated our rules and should have been removed. We
are deeply sorry for that error.”

“We are investigating what happened and will continue to work to
improve how we handle concerns raised by anyone on Twitter,” the
company added. “We want Twitter to be a place where people feel
safe, and we know we have lot of work to do.”

Twitter and other social media giants have been criticized for
not acting more decisively in regulating its platforms. Critics
have alleged that unregulated content from fringe political
groups and users promotes fake news, hate speech, or other
harmful content.

Despite public pressure to more broadly moderate user content,
CEOs, like Twitter’s Jack Dorsey, have suggested it would stand
firm on its policies.

“If we succumb and simply react to outside pressure, rather than
straightforward principles we enforce (and evolve) impartially
regardless of political viewpoints, we become a service that’s
constructed by our personal views that can swing in any
direction,” Dorsey said in a tweet.
“That’s not us.”

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