Last week, after Cesar Sayoc was caught and identified as the MAGA Bomber, we began to learn a little about who he was on social media. While the rest of the world was shocked at the violence and hate he spewed on platforms like Twitter, one woman was not. After an appearance on Fox News, Rochelle Ritchie, a political commentator, began receiving threats from Sayoc.
The menacing tweet sent to Ritchie said "We will see you 4 sure. Hug your loved ones really close every time you [sic] leave you home." Ritchie reported the threat to Twitter but received little help. In fact, according to her, she was told that Twitter didn't find it that serious. Well, it was. The Twitter user who threatened her had also written posts threatening former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder — one of the recipients of Sayoc's mail bombs.
Sayoc's threat should definitely have been taken seriously and like so many times before, Twitter failed to take action.
Twitter has since released a muted apology saying that, "We made a mistake when Rochelle Ritchie first alerted us to the threat made against her." But that isn't enough. Twitter allows violent, bigoted hate speech that targets users to fly under the radar without consequence all the time. Racial minorities, politicians, women, and people of the LGBT community are often on the receiving end of these abusive and chilling tweets and yet, Twitter often shrugs it's shoulders as if they don't have the power to stop it. But as the sole moderators of the platform, they must take responsibility for violent tweets and report them when things cross a line.
Twitter must reign in the hate and violence that fills their platform and spreads fear to vulnerable users. Sign the petition and demand that Twitter take decisive and transparent action to fix this persistent problem.