Twitter withholds name of man who threatened to shoot up Spike Lee play

Senior Editor
08.07.12 10 Comments

A Twitter user threatened to shoot up the Broadway opening of a Mike Tyson one-man-show being directed by Spike Lee on Friday. The shooting never happened, but when the NYPD asked Twitter for the user’s information, they refused.

“This s–t ain’t no joke yo — I’m serious, people are gonna die like aurora,” the lunatic scrawled in one tweet.
“Gosh I’m still making this hit list damn I wanna kill a lot of people,” the nutjob warned in another chilling tweet about the bloodshed he would unleash at the Longacre Theatre in Midtown, home to Mike Tyson’s one-man show, “Undisputed Truth.”Detectives immediately sent an “emergency request” to Twitter in an effort to unmask the sicko — but the social media site flat-out refused it in an e-mail the next day, the sources said.

“Gosh, I wanna kill a lot of people.” It’s nice that he won’t take the lord’s name in vain while he’s committing murder. Can’t be all bad, right?  Anyway, this was Twitter’s response, according to the NY Post:

“We appreciate the timeliness and sensitivity of this matter, and have reviewed the reported Twitter account,” the e-mail said.
“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.”

In other words, Twitter says Twitter gets to make those decisions. Not that the police would necessarily be better at making them, it’s just… interesting.

The response prompted the NYPD to dispatch officers, including heavily armed Hercules teams, to the theater, sources said.
“We’ll cover the theater until we find this guy,” said police spokesman Paul Browne, adding that the NYPD obtained the subpoena yesterday from the Manhattan DA’s Office in order to unmask the account holder — whose online handle is being withheld for security reasons.
“We needed a name and we needed it fast. Twitter said no,” Browne fumed.
Twitter did not immediately respond to an e-mail request for comment.
Investigators were quickly alarmed by the disturbing material on the Twitter page, including one tweeter who asked why the madman hadn’t made good on his promise to “shoot that theatre up.”
The maniac replied, “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.” [NYPost]

Thanks, post, I think we’ve just about run out of synonyms for “crazy person” now. At the very least, this is awful PR for Twitter. The timing is especially bad, considering they just made headlines for suspending the account of a journalist from The Independent because he posted the freely-available email address of NBC’s Olympics president. If Twitter wants to evaluate threats themselves, it would be helpful to understand their methodology, so let’s see, threat levels according to Twitter… Badmouthing a potential business partner: Emergency. Threatening to shoot up a bunch of people in a theater a week after a guy shot up a bunch of people in a theater: Non-Emergency. Interesting, choice, there, Twitter. Very… interesting.

At the very least, they should give the guy’s info to Mike Tyson and let Mike Tyson drive to his house and f*ck him until he loves him. I don’t quite understand the logistics of that, but Mike Tyson seems to know.

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