Tweet a Death Threat on Twitter, No Problem. Report a Death Threat and See Your Account Suspended
When the famous clothing line Illuminati issued a threat in July 2013, which called for the death of George Zimmerman, Twitter went wild with many Twitter users calling for the social network to ban the account.
“@Twitter, Please ban @TheIlluminati they are calling for murder.”
Within moments the message was resent almost one-thousand times.
With over a million followers, “@TheIlluminati” appears to be the official account name. The clothing brand embraces conspiracy theories and sells T-shirts saying, “F**K the Police,” and “United Snakes of America.”
While the brand’s Facebook page was silent, there was quite a bit of noise on Twitter.
It isn’t the original time Twitter users have said Zimmerman should be slain. Even NY criminal defense lawyer Bukh told CNN’s Piers Morgan that Zimmerman would never be safe.
Illuminati’s account was never shut down. Apparently, it’s ok to make a death threat on Twitter, but if a person reports a death threat, their account will be suspended.
The Strange Case of @douglasernst
In 2015, Twitter’s CEO Dick Costolo claimed to be ‘ashamed’ at how the social networking company handles bullying. Twitter didn’t make much progress in the two years following Illuminati’s threat. These days Twitter makes room for death threats. If a person has been the target of a death threat — and points it out to Twitter — Twitter Support Staff may ban the recipient. It happened to Douglas (@douglasernst) Ernst.
On March 31, 2015, Ernst wrote a piece for work about Iranian aircraft buzzing an American helicopter in the Persian Gulf. The story generated a death threat.
Ernst, a reporter for The Washington Times, wrote “Iranian aircraft buzzed U.S. Navy helicopter in Persian Gulf”.
Within moments, Derrick (@AmericanNotes) Tapscott tweeted: “@WashTimes @douglasernst WE WILL FIND YOU AND KILL YOU #DEATHTOAMERICA.”
Twitter’s policy is straightforward: “You may not publish or post direct, specific threats of violence.”
Ernst’s account, which was suspended on April 6, 2015, was reinstated on May 6, 2015.