Twitter admits it screwed up in not taking action against bombing suspect's tweets

Marcus Gilmer

Now that the man suspected of sending at least a dozen bombs to Democratic figures across the country has been arrested, we're getting a clearer picture of who he is, and his social media presence. A woman on Twitter is claiming that an account associated with the man who was arrested has made threats on the site against her this month. 

Rochelle Ritchie, who has previously worked for CBS, the Baltimore City State's Attorneys office, and as Press Secretary for the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee, tweeted about the threats on Friday afternoon after the suspect was identified as 56-year-old Cesar Sayoc of Aventura, Florida. 

The threat came from a Twitter account that has been linked by media reports to Sayoc and features plenty of images that appear to show the suspect, including Sayoc at pro-Trump events. 

Image: Screenshot/Twitter

The account also features threats against film director Ron Howard and former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, who was one of those targeted by the mail bombs. 

SEE ALSO: Trump seemingly tweets conspiracy theory about bombs sent to his critics

Per Ritchie's tweet, Twitter apparently reviewed the account's threats against her and found there was "no violation of the Twitter rules against abusive behavior." 

The tweet sent to Ritchie said "We will see you 4 sure.Hug your loved ones real close every time you leave you home."  

As of 2 p.m. ET Friday, the tweets sent to Ritchie were still visible.

Image: screenshot/Twitter

A Twitter spokesperson released the following statement to Mashable: “This is an ongoing law enforcement investigation. We do not have a comment.”

Mashable has also reached out to Ritchie for further comment on the incident, and we'll update with more information if it becomes available. 

If the tweets are indeed from the suspect, it's another major mark against Twitter, which has long faced criticism for its failure to curtail such harassment on its platform. The company continued to tip-toe around the issue, making certain caveats about what constitutes harassment. 

As for this specific case, it seems to check off all the necessary requirements: targeted tweet and a clear threat of violence, not to mention a pattern of similar threats made to others. 

Twitter finally acknowledged just that on Friday night when the Twitter Safety account admitted that Ritchie's concerns had not been met with an appropriate response.