Social media like Twitter, YouTube and Facebook is probably the biggest radicalizing force in American politics today. It’s easy to widely share content that is simply wrong, and even easier to abuse and torment innocent people. After Rochelle Ritchie went on Fox News earlier this month, she was inundated with abuse, including from Cesar Syoc, the man arrested today in connection with the attempted bombings.
He wrote to her “So you like make threats.We Unconquered Seminole Tribe will answer your threats.We have nice silent Air boat ride for u here on our land Everglades Swamp .We will see you 4 sure.Hug your loved ones real close every time you leave home.”
It’s pretty much a fact now that obvious death threats do not violate Twitter’s terms of service, meaning that the platform basically endorses this kind of behavior. Because Twitter never takes strong action against these kinds of posts, we can only assume that this garbage is ubiquitous throughout the social network, because without the extensive engagement from hyperactive accounts like Cesar Syoc, Twitter would make less money, meaning that they are literally dependent on extremists for profit. Cool economy we’ve got here America.
Jacob Weindling is a staff writer for Paste politics. Follow him on Twitter at @Jakeweindling.