Twitter user reported threatening tweets from alleged bomber, and Twitter did nothing
Rochelle Ritchie is a Democratic strategist and a frequent guest on cable news shows, including Fox News. Earlier this month, she was a regular presence during panel discussions about sexual harasser Brett Kavanaugh’s congressional hearings, and the spate of public confrontations of lawmakers that sprung from outrage over his nomination to the Supreme Court.
Ritchie’s appearances included well-deserved criticism of President Donald Trump. Those criticisms, however, rankled the sensibilities of at least one Twitter user: @hardrock2016, the account believed to belong to Cesar Altieri Sayoc, the man accused of mailing pipe bombs to a dozen vocal Trump critics.
Two weeks ago, the account replied to a tweet from Ritchie, threatening her life and saying she should “Hug your loved ones real close every time you leave you [sic] home.”
So you like make threats.We Unconquered Seminole Tribe will answer your threats.We have nice silent Air boat ride for u here on our land Everglades Swamp .We will see you 4 sure.Hug your loved ones real close every time you leave you home. pic.twitter.com/Ykn3Wm2QX4
— Cesar Altieri (@hardrock2016) October 11, 2018
Ritchie saw the reply, and reported the account to Twitter using their built-in anti-harassment features. Rather than take action to suspend the account, Twitter responded by saying the threatening tweet contained “no violation of the Twitter Rules against abusive behavior.”
On Friday, as news began circulating about the identity of the bomber, Ritchie dug up the response provided by Twitter.
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!!!! pic.twitter.com/xBY8FMbqnq
— R O C H E L L E (@RochelleRitchie) October 26, 2018
The social media company has been roundly criticized by regular Americans for failing to take adequate action against a small but vocal group of white supremacists, misogynists, Trump supporters, and others who use the platform to harass, insult, and threaten reporters and activists. Twitter was infamously the last major platform to remove accounts belonging to Alex Jones and other violent conspiracy theorists — but as recently as this week, several accounts associated with Jones and his personal blog remained active.
Twitter has not yet responded to Ritchie’s comments.