Privacy policies are generally considered to be good and important when it comes to social media platforms and how personal details are stored. Protecting one’s identity is important and ought to be taken seriously… except when said individual makes public threats of mass murder.
In that case, you definitely want to know exactly who to go after. Privacy? Nuh uh. Nope. Privacy has left the building.
So it’s absolutely absurd that Twitter refuses to cooperate with the New York Police Department and disclose the identity of the person behind the account that sent out a string of highly concerning tweets threatening an Aurora-style massacre at the Broadway’s Longacre Theater, where former professional boxer Mike Tyson is currently starring in his own one-man show.
“Gosh I’m still making this hit list damn I wanna kill a lot of people,” warned one such tweet from the account, which has since been suspended. “Mass murder for real,” read another.
Law enforcement immediately reached out to Twitter for help identifying the person behind these alarming messages, but Twitter is yet to comply.
“We appreciate the timeliness and sensitivity of this matter, and have reviewed the reported Twitter account,” said an email in response. “While we do invoke emergency-disclosure procedures when it appears that a threat is present, specific and immediate, this does not appear to fall under those strict parameters as per our policies.”
Now, the NYPD has issued a subpoena to force the social-media platform into cooperation. In the meantime, heavily armed Hercules teams have been dispatched to the Longacre and said wannabe gunman has allegedly absconded to Florida, tweeting: “I had last minute plans and I’m in Florida rite now but it’ll happen I promise. I’m just finishing up my hit list.”
Update: The New York Times now reports that Twitter has decided to comply with the NYPD’s court order and is turning over account information they had previously (three days ago) refused to disclose.