Woman warned Twitter about bomb suspect

Political commentator Rochelle Ritchie alerted Twitter to a threat made against her by Cesar Sayoc, the serial pipe bomb suspect who mailed bombs to public officials and CNN less than two weeks later.

Posted: Oct 28, 2018 4:25 PM
Updated: Oct 28, 2018 4:55 PM

On October 11, a little less than two weeks before the discovery of the first of 14 improvised explosive devices he is suspected of sending to prominent Democrats and CNN's New York offices, Cesar Sayoc tweeted at Rochelle Ritchie.

"We will see you 4 sure.Hug your loved ones real close every time you leave you home," the tweet read in part.

Ritchie, a political analyst who frequently appears on television, reported the tweet to Twitter as abuse. The response she received from the company said the tweet and the threat it implied didn't qualify as a "violation of the Twitter rules against abusive behavior."

When Sayoc was arrested on Friday, the tweet was still live.

Later in the day, Twitter said it should have taken different action when Ritchie contacted them.

"An update. We made a mistake when Rochelle Ritchie first alerted us to the threat made against her," Twitter's statement said. "The Tweet clearly violated our rules and should have been removed. We are deeply sorry for that error."

Twitter has repeatedly said it is working on combating harassment and abuse on its platform. But people who use Twitter have said over and over again it is not doing enough. It is not uncommon for users to report explicit threats of violence and then, to their dismay, see an automated response saying that there was no violation of its rules.

In Sayoc's case, an opportunity to alert authorities to someone openly threatening public figures — someone who allegedly tried to make good on those threats — may have been missed because Twitter failed to act.

Twitter's email to Ritchie specifically said that the company will "not tolerate behavior that crosses the line into abuse, including behavior that harasses, intimidates, or uses fear to silence another user's voice." But still Sayoc's tweet to Ritchie remained live.

"You think to yourself 'if you see something, say something,' and then when you say something it's ignored," Ritchie told CNN Business on Friday. "It is really irritating that these social media sites do not take these things seriously."

Friday evening, after a tweet Ritchie sent pointing out what had happened had become popular on the site and gotten attention from media outlets, Twitter sent her a new email.

"Please disregard our last reply as it was sent in error. We apologize for any inconvenience," it began. "We've investigated and suspended the account you reported as it was found to be participating in abusive behavior."

Ritchie didn't buy it.

"They're trying to cover their ass," she told CNN Business.

The tweet directed at Ritchie was only one of many similar examples from Sayoc's accounts.

On September 20, in response to a tweet from President Trump, Sayoc posted a self-shot video of himself at what appears to be a Donald Trump rally.

The text of the tweet threatened former Vice President Joe Biden and former attorney general Eric Holder, both of whom were targeted by improvised explosive devices discovered this week.

"Go Trump Trump Trump hey Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. And Eric Himpton Holder Sr. Stick your BS all crap you talk where sun doesn't shine . We will meet your threats right to your face soon.Not option we will see you soon .Hug loved ones real close we aren't ones," the tweet read.

On September 18th, Sayoc tweeted a picture of Biden's home and wrote, "Hug your loved son,Niece,wife family real close everytime U walk out your home."

Both tweets were still live on Twitter when Sayoc was arrested. Twitter suspended Sayoc's accounts late Friday afternoon.

CNN Business asked Twitter multiple questions about Sayoc and his tweets on Friday: Why was the tweet directed at Ritchie not deemed a violation of the company's rules? Why was the threat against Biden and Holder still live on the platform? Does Twitter monitor the responses to tweets by the president of the United States to look for threats? Does it proactively monitor for threats to public figures like Biden and Holder?

The company's only response was, "This is an ongoing law enforcement investigation. We do not have a comment."

A Facebook spokesperson told CNN that the company had removed Sayoc's account on Friday. The spokesperson said that several of Sayoc's previous posts had violated Facebook's community standards, and had been removed before he was arrested, but that none of his posts which were reported to or discovered by Facebook contained violations of its rules severe enough to remove the account entirely.

"There is absolutely no place on our platforms for people who attempt such horrendous acts. We have found and immediately removed the suspect's accounts on Facebook and Instagram," Facebook said in a statement.

West Lafayette
Overcast
43° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 38°
Kokomo
Overcast
43° wxIcon
Hi: 45° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 40°
Rensselaer
Overcast
37° wxIcon
Hi: 40° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 37°
Fowler
Overcast
37° wxIcon
Hi: 41° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 37°
Williamsport
Overcast
38° wxIcon
Hi: 44° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 32°
Crawfordsville
Overcast
43° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 39°
Frankfort
Overcast
43° wxIcon
Hi: 47° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 39°
Delphi
Overcast
43° wxIcon
Hi: 45° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 38°
Monticello
Overcast
39° wxIcon
Hi: 42° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 39°
Logansport
Overcast
39° wxIcon
Hi: 44° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 39°
Chilly and cloudy Tuesday
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 164581

Reported Deaths: 4143
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion26055792
Lake14436358
St. Joseph9606168
Elkhart9271138
Allen8647231
Hamilton6400115
Vanderburgh617162
Tippecanoe396715
Porter347550
Hendricks3418134
Monroe335638
Johnson3286130
Delaware311575
Clark306263
Vigo275340
Madison250896
LaPorte239261
Cass229724
Warrick205065
Kosciusko201127
Floyd187468
Howard169466
Bartholomew147958
Marshall147428
Dubois146426
Wayne142031
Grant133539
Henry133030
Boone129150
Hancock124744
Noble122935
Jackson121018
Dearborn103128
Morgan100340
Lawrence96838
Gibson94412
Clinton92416
Daviess92334
Shelby90632
LaGrange82815
Knox81810
Harrison81024
Posey7767
Putnam77616
Fayette76719
DeKalb76011
Jasper6885
Miami6715
Steuben6608
Montgomery63122
White62316
Greene57838
Adams5607
Scott55413
Decatur52839
Ripley4838
Whitley4836
Clay4617
Sullivan45714
Wells45611
Huntington4455
Starke4438
Wabash4439
Orange42425
Spencer4176
Randolph39210
Jennings38713
Washington3873
Franklin38325
Fulton3785
Perry36914
Jefferson3655
Pike35718
Carroll34313
Jay3386
Fountain3293
Tipton28423
Vermillion2721
Parke2564
Rush2464
Blackford2394
Newton23711
Owen2151
Martin2050
Pulaski1783
Crawford1631
Brown1473
Ohio1337
Union1140
Benton1130
Switzerland980
Warren911
Unassigned0236

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events