Twitter has done a U-turn after initially refusing a request from the New York Police to identify a user. The police issued a subpoena to the micro-blogging site after a user threatened to carry out a mass shooting at Mike Tyson’s one-man Broadway show, and Twitter have now complied.
The tweets started in late July and have continued into early August, with the unidentified user sending a number of messages that described the step by step plan to attack the theatre. One tweet read: ”Yo I’m serious people are gonna die just like in aurora”.
You might think that given the recent events in Colorado, Twitter may have been slightly more cooperative with the police in the first instance – yet they initially refused the request for information.
One user questioned whether the gun-toting tweeter would actually act on their threats, to which the user sought by police responded: ”I’m in Florida rite now but it’ll happen i promise I’m just finishing up my hit list.”
Twitter initially told the NYPD that in order to hand over information to law enforcement, the company’s guidelines call for ”a good faith belief that there is an emergency involving the death or serious physical injury to a person”. Speaking on Tuesday, police spokesman Paul Browne addressed this issue: ”They [Twitter] said… there doesn’t appear to be a threat… We think our police judgment should trump that.”
Do you think Twitter was right to withhold the information in the first instance? In this case it could be argued that if someone is threatening to carry out mass murder, then an affront to their privacy shouldn’t be an obstacle in trying to stop such acts from happening. So do you think that in light of the recent shootings in Colorado and Wisconsin, the micro-blogging site should have immediately done everything possible to aid law enforcement?