Cesar Sayoc Was Reported for Threatening Behavior, But Twitter Apparently ‘Didn’t Find it That Serious’

Rochelle Ritchie, a former spokeswoman for the U.S. Congress and the Baltimore State’s Attorney’s Office, said Friday that she recently reported accused bomb suspect Cesar Sayoc of threatening her on Twitter. The company’s “bs response”: No violation was found.

The now-suspended account @hardrock2016 has been linked to Sayoc, who allegedly mailed bombs to critics of President Donald Trump.

“Though we are still analyzing the devices in our laboratory, these are not hoax devices,” FBI Director Christopher Wray said in a press conference Friday hours after the arrest.

The defendant is a registered Republican, according to voting records obtained by Law&Crime.

“We will see you 4 sure,” the @hardrock2016 account allegedly wrote to Ritchie. “Hug your loved ones real close every time you leave you home. [sic]”

Twitter determined that there was no violation of the company’s rules against abusive behavior, according to the “bs response” posted by Ritchie.

The site declined to comment on Ritchie’s complaint, and cited the ongoing criminal investigation into Sayoc.

Law enforcement investigation or not, the company usually says little, if anything, about how it handles alleged threats and harassment on the platform. Spokespeople often cite security and privacy reasons for declining to explain. Critics have accused the site of inconsistently applying its rules and being opaque about its enforcement practices, and even enabling white supremacist and misogynistic viewpoints. CEO Jack Dorsey has said that they are working to improve user experience on the platform.

“This is an ongoing law enforcement investigation. We do not have a comment,” a Twitter spokesperson told Law&Crime.

Update: Twitter admitted Friday evening that it made a mistake, and said “We are deeply sorry for that error.”

“The Tweet clearly violated our rules and should have been removed,” a statement on the Twitter Safety account reads.

Matt Naham contributed to this report.

Editor’s note: This article was updated after publication with responses from Twitter.

[Image via Twitter screengrab]

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