Just after Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey paid a visit to the White House on April 23, he called Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar about a somewhat related topic—death threats that had been made against her on Twitter following a post by President Trump himself.
According to a Washington Post report, Dorsey defended the decision not to pull Trump’s tweet—a video that combined a single phrase from Omar’s speech at a Council on Islamic Relations banquet with footage of the attacks on the Twin Towers.
Trump captioned it all: “NEVER FORGET.” The post remains up.
Omar has been the target of a stream of hateful content on Twitter. As she said in a statement posted on Twitter, “Since the President’s tweet… I have experienced an increase in direct threats on my life—many directly referencing or replying to the President’s video.”
We are all Americans. This is endangering lives. It has to stop. pic.twitter.com/gwB2kDUIRp
— Rep. Ilhan Omar (@Ilhan) April 15, 2019
The posts have continued with both direct and indirect threats, many of which Twitter has not acted upon. Others have sought to intimidate or harass in other ways. Some users have also targeted Omar for comments she made about the US intervention in Somalia in 1993.
For example, one tweet from a now-suspended account (not shown here because of content) showed a decapitated and stripped human body, with the words, “Just a small reminder of why our country is better than yours, Ms. Omar.”
The tweet stayed up even after it was reported by Ars and others until Chris Sampson of the TAPSRTRI terror and political social media research project sent an angry response to an email from Twitter Support claiming the content was not a violation of content policies.
Twitter’s refusal to take down Trump’s video tweet—which has been posted elsewhere across the Internet—has spurred protests against the company. Woman’s March has launched a petition drive asking Twitter and Facebook to suspend President Trump’s accounts and is threatening a picket of Twitter’s upcoming stockholder meeting.