Twitter accounts linked to the man arrested for allegedly sending mail bombs to an ever-growing list of Trump critics previously threatened a number of celebrities and politicians on Twitter. In at least one case, the social media company seems to have refused to take steps against such a threat.
A Twitter spokesperson declined to comment on Friday, referring to the issue as “an ongoing law enforcement investigation.” The company suspended two accounts associated with the suspect Friday afternoon, and on Friday night tweeted that it was “deeply sorry” for not having acted earlier.
Authorities identified the suspect of the mail bombing campaign as Cesar Altieri Sayoc, a Florida resident. Soon after the arrest, Twitter users began to unearth two accounts featuring selfies of the suspect, including a video that was likely taken at a Trump rally.
Sayoc apparently used these accounts to directly threaten a number of actors and politicians, including Jim Carrey, Ron Howard, Rob Reiner, George Soros, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, and others.
A number of those threats included screen grabs from news stories about murders, plane crashes, and other violent incidents, while others featured gory imagery of decapitated animals. “Not option no way out silence no shots, no traces like never existed,” the suspect wrote in a tweet directed at Warren. Other tweets ended with the line “Hug your loved ones real close every time you leave your home.”
Fox News contributor Rochelle Ritchie said Friday that she reported such a tweet by the suspect earlier this month — only to be told by Twitter that “there was no violation of the Twitter Rules against abusive behavior.”
Twitter responded to this late Friday evening, tweeting that it made a mistake when it rejected the report. “The tweet clearly violated our rules and should have been removed,” the company said in a tweet. “We are deeply sorry for that error.”
In a separate incident, the suspect apparently posted what appeared to be the home address of George Soros on Twitter, which also represents a clear violation of the company’s rules.
“We want Twitter to be a place where people feel safe, and we know we have lot of work to do,” the company concluded Friday night.
Update: This post was updated multiple times throughout the day following the suspension of Sayoc’s Twitter accounts as well as a statement made by the company late Friday.