It’s so easy to make a status update on social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook that many of us do it without really thinking about it. Whilst this is okay for general status updates or tweeting about that delicious sub that you had for lunch, it can be problematic when you write a badly timed joke or something that you may think is harmless fun but actually has great consequences.
This week the internet learned of a teenage girl in the Netherlands that for some reason though it would be a good idea to tweet a terrorist threat to one of America’s biggest Airlines. Whilst I’m pretty sure Sarah or (@QueenDemetriax_) as she is known on Twitter had no idea of the seriousness of her actions, she must have known that this wasn’t going to end well? Shortly after receiving the tweets American Airlines responded to her pointing out the seriousness of the threat and informed her that they would be passing her details on to the FBI.
Upon receiving the message from American Airlines it seems that Sarah quickly realised the seriousness of her actions and began to plead with the Airline to not take the matter any further stating that she was just a girl and not from Afghanistan or a member of “Al qaida”. The initial message from American Airlines claimed that they had Sarah’s IP address and that they would be passing this onto the FBI, something which isn’t actually within the power of American Airlines. A Twitter spokesman later confirmed that the Airline didn’t have access to the IP or other details of the girl and that only a law enforcement agency could request such information from Twitter.
Sarah was arrested following the incident by Police in Rotterdam and investigations are still ongoing. I sincerely hope that this incident is a warning to others about the serious implications that can happen as a result of what we say on social networks. If you're unsure if the tweet you are about to send is inappropriate or likely to cause any repercussions the safest and most sensible thing to do is not post it.
Back in February there was a video uploaded to Geekanoids titled ‘think before you tweet’ which although it talks about businesses and banks looking at your Twitter account before making a decision on offering a loan or employment, it still hammers home the importance of thinking before you tweet so I have included the video below for reference.