Twitter has recently suspended accounts which appeared to have link to Cesar Sayoc. This man was suspected of sending explosive devices to prominent democrats and critics of President Donald Trump. Thirteen suspicious packages supposedly sent to different people. Including former President Barack Obama, former Vice President Joe Biden and also former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Federal law enforcement officers in Florida caught him. These devices are still under laboratory testing.
The accounts linked to mail bomb suspects:
The Twitter account @hardrock2016 appeared to linked to Sayoc, and hence suspended recently. “@hardrock2016” sent alarming messages to people like Jim Carey and Biden. One of the representatives of Twitter said that they may confirm suspension pursuant with their policies.
Any inquiry regarding preceding threats from the account was denied by the company. Even FBI refused to comment about this particular account and its probable link to Cesar Sayoc. “@hardrockintlent” -another Twitter account linked to Sayoc. Twitter has suspended this account as well.
What was present in the threatening messages:
Both the accounts featured a number of tweets. Many of which involved far-right political conspiracy theories, graphic images and specific threats. These two accounts consist of multiple tweets which appeared to intimidate violence against recognized political antagonists. Such as Joe Biden and Keith Ellison.
Rochelle Ritchie- former press secretary for Congress, previously reported a tweet from @hardrock2016 after she appeared on Fox news. The tweet stated “We will see u 4 sure. Hug your loved ones real close every time you leave home” accompanied by a photo of Ritchie, a screenshot of a news story about a body found in the Everglades and the tarot card representing end of life. Even though the tweet seemed threatening, Twitter replied to Ritchie’s report saying he wasn’t violating their rules against abusive behavior.
After recognizing that the tweets were indeed threatening, Twitter issued an apology to Rochelle Ritchie for having not dealt with the initial report. Ritchie’s tweet said, “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!!!!”
The machine learning moderation tools face difficulty in interpreting the messages. Firstly, most of the threatening messages were illustrated with a sequence of graphic images. Secondly, he sent a verbal threat along with most of the threatening images. However, any human content moderator would be able to analyze them with ease.
Removal of the suspect’s other social media accounts:
Facebook representative mentioned that they removed suspect’s Facebook as well as Instagram accounts on the same day. The representative said, “There is absolutely no place on our platforms for people who attempt such horrendous acts. We have found and immediately removed the suspect’s accounts on Facebook and Instagram. We will also continue to remove content that praises or supports the bombing attempt or the suspect as soon as we’re aware.”
After noticing all the threatening tweets sent to various people, Twitter has finally suspended the accounts linked to suspects of explosive devices or mail bombs. Twitter stated that “This is an ongoing law enforcement investigation. We do not have a comment.” The company mentioned that violation of Twitter’s rules led to suspension of the accounts.