According to research search from the social media analytics company Dataminr, over 12,000 tweets have called for the assassination of President Trump since he took office on January 20th.
Here are just a few found after a quick search on Twitter:
Someone needs to assassinate Donald trump
— Elizabeth (@boho1899) January 27, 2017
I hate to say this, but can someone just assassinate Trump already?
— jay (@jayspreme) February 3, 2017
i hope melania has a secret plan to assassinate trump and pence with the help of her slovenian family
— effy🖤 (@Elyssuhhxx) January 27, 2017
Twitter has said in an email statement that “the Twitter Rules prohibit threats of violence, and we will suspend accounts violating that policy.” Whilst these may not be direct threats, the rules also clearly state that the “promotion” of violence is also forbidden. Yet many thousands of tweets and accounts remain active, in a direct contradiction to Twitter’s former statement.
Not all Twitter threats are hyperbolic. The Secret Service have in fact investigated some individuals for their tweets. Heather Lowry from Kentucky posted, “if someone was cruel enough to assassinate MLK, maybe someone will be kind enough to assassinate Trump.” The agency’s field office then interviewed Lowry and conducted a background check. Zachary Benson of Cleveland, Ohio, was in fact charged with threatening the then President-elect’s life on Twitter, with a maximum possible sentence of five years in prison.
Former US Secret Service special agent Tim Franklin told Mashable that “it’s the people who have a true and genuine intent to do harm that the Secret Service is worried about… they’re not going to to beat down the door of everybody who makes a negative Twitter comment.” Users who use specific language and detail regarding any assassination attempt will likely get a visit from the Secret Service.