WASHINGTON, D.C. – While Twitter removed the specific hate-laden tweets mentioned by Infowars.com in an article published on Monday, dozens of death threats remain posted, targeting FCC Chairman Ajit Pai for advancing to a vote a new FCC order expected to repeal the Obama-era “Net Neutrality” rules.
The advocacy group Free Our Internet addressed on Thursday a letter to the L. Eric Patterson, the director of the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Protective Service, demanding action against Twitter for allowing the death threats against Chairman Pai to remain posted on the website.
In the letter, Christie-Lee McNally, the executive director of Free Our Internet, wrote the following to the Federal Protective Service:
“Net Neutrality” is a policy issue that has been exhaustively covered in the news over the past several weeks, but the battle is waging even more viciously online. People have taken to Reddit, Twitter, and Facebook to express their opinions on the matter, as is their right under the First Amendment. However, Twitter, in particular, has been used to threaten the lives of federal officials and their families over this issue. The violent threats against Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai are not only vile and extremely disturbing, but must be taken seriously. (bold text in original letter)
McNally’s letter cited the following Tweets that Infowars.com has confirmed remain posted on Twitter on Friday morning:
- @AjitPaiFCC fuck you you devilish monster i will fucking murder you and your whole family you fucking cunt fuck your net neutrality payment shit show it up your ass – POSTED by @juppePuppeYT on Dec. 4, 2017
- @AjitPaiFCC you will die soon POSTED by @LoveYouLikeSel on Dec. 7, 2017
- Replying to @AjitPaiFCC: Someone, somewhere, will kill you… POSTED by @iam_namhil on Dec. 6, 2017
- Just a reminder for @AjitPaiFCC that you’re a fucking cunt and I hope you die. Literally. Soon, if you can help it. POSTED by @Shades_Murphy, Dec. 3, 2017
- Replying to @FCC@AjitPaiFCC: My only hope is that you legitimately die in the worst possible way. At this point this is all you deserve. I have no sympathy for anything that happens to you, or your family. You deserve every single bad thing that’s ever happened to you and anything else in the future. POSTED by @LazerBird1, Dec. 5, 2017
- @AjitPaiFCC If you take away net neutrality because companies are paying you to ban net neutrality, I will find you and kill you. This isn’t a joke. The tweets in the video where you read mean tweets were real, so stop laughing and listen to the public for once. You buffoon, die. POSTED by @TheDankOr, Dec. 3, 2017
- @AjitPaiFCC If you don’t keep neutrality, I will find you and I will kill you. Please #Net Neutrality #FreedomOfSpeech POSTED by @thetotalbos01, Nov. 24, 2017
- @AjitPaiFCC you Sir are a fucking idiot, I hope it passes just so people will want and most likely will kill you POSTED by @hand_ix, Nov. 30, 2017
McNally pointed out that these hate-laden death threats violate Twitter’s published policies for posting Tweets:
Twitter’s policy and rules on abusive behavior are clear, explicitly stating, “You may not make specific threats of violence or wish for the serious physical harm, death, or disease of an individual or group of people.” In spite of this, direct and indirect death threats against the Chairman and his family remain online. Further, Twitter removed a small number of threatening tweets only after a news report called attention to the issue, more than a week after the tweets were reported. Dozens of other threats remain on Twitter. (italics in original)
McNally noted that Twitter is actively advocating against Chairman Pail’s order to repeal the 2015 “Net Neutrality” rules, noting that Pai has recently called out Twitter for implementing a “censorship” policy with an ideological bias.
McNally concluded by urging DHS to investigate:
As the FCC vote on repealing Obama-era net neutrality regulations on December 14 approaches, I urge you to investigate these threats. Last week, charges were brought against a New York man for leaving a voicemail threatening the life of Congressman John Katko (R-NY) over his views on net neutrality. In the digital era, a Tweet acts as the modern-day phone call, so they should be treated as seriously as threats that are made by traditional means of communication. It is clear that these threats cannot be taken lightly.
“While the First Amendment gives us the right to speak freely about policy issues like these, it does not give people the right to threaten lives over a political disagreement,” McNally stressed.
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