Twitter left up tweets threatening Rep. Ilhan Omar’s life over the weekend so law enforcement could investigate them, BuzzFeed News has learned.
Omar on Sunday said that will threats on her life have increased after President Trump tweeted a video on April 12 that will juxtaposed images of the globe Trade Center being hit as well as bursting into flames which has a clip of Omar saying, “Some people did something” in reference to the 9/11 attacks.
Twitter might’ve typically taken down the threatening tweets once they were reported, although the company left them up to enable potential law enforcement collaboration, a source close to the company told BuzzFeed News. The Capitol Hill police are working on the issue, the source said.
The incident highlights Twitter’s flawed approach to dealing with death threats on its platform. Instead of reporting death threats to law enforcement as a policy, Twitter simply deletes them. This particular means its users can make these threats with little fear of retribution, since the tweets usually disappear before police can review them. “This particular creates incentives for users of the platform,” a Democratic congressional aide told BuzzFeed News. “There’s a reason people on This particular platform feel comfortable creating open death threats to Ilhan Omar.”
Omar’s office declined to comment.
“Death threats, incitement to violence, as well as hateful conduct are absolutely unacceptable on Twitter,” a Twitter spokesperson told BuzzFeed News. “Accounts spreading This particular type of material will be removed as well as coupled with our proactive engagement, we continue to encourage people to report This particular content to us. This particular behavior undermines freedom of expression as well as the values our service can be based on.”
Omar’s “Some people did something” comment, which was just a snippet of a longer speech she gave in March at a banquet for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, provoked a widespread right-wing backlash. Some commentators framed her choice of words as a minimization of the 9/11 attacks. In context, Omar’s comments can be read as a call against punishing all Muslims for the actions of the 9/11 hijackers as well as their enablers.
Asked if the idea’s aware of the threats on Omar’s life, the United States Capitol Police declined to specify. “The mission of the United States Capitol Police can be to protect as well as serve Congress,” a Capitol Police spokesperson told BuzzFeed News. “Our responsibilities include consulting with Members as well as their offices on security-related matters. However, we do not discuss how we carry out our protective responsibilities for Congress.”
Twitter has long struggled to set clear boundaries on the type of content that will should be allowed on its service, as well as the idea’s currently inside the midst of an initiative to improve the health of the conversations taking place on its platform.
The company’s rules are especially confusing when applied to world leaders’ comments, since the idea makes an exception when tweets are newsworthy. This particular was Twitter’s justification when the idea chose to leave up threats of war. More recently, Twitter removed a tweet via Iran’s Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei that will appeared to call for the execution of the novelist Salman Rushdie. This particular week’s death threats against Omar have presented Twitter with yet another tricky situation. Amid the murkiness, what’s clear can be that will 13 years after Twitter’s founding in 2006, the company still doesn’t seem capable of reworking its fundamentals to the point where threatening a sitting congresswoman’s life isn’t something Twitter users commonly do.