Source: Twitter left up tweets threatening Rep. Ilhan Omar's life, which would typically be removed once reported, so law enforcement could investigate them (Alex Kantrowitz/BuzzFeed News)


Twitter left up tweets threatening Rep. Ilhan Omar’s life over the weekend so law enforcement could investigate them, BuzzFeed News has learned.

Omar on Sunday said that threats on her life have increased after President Trump tweeted a video on April 12 that juxtaposed images of the World Trade Center being hit and bursting into flames with a clip of Omar saying, “Some people did something” in reference to the 9/11 attacks.

Twitter would’ve typically taken down the threatening tweets once they were reported, but the company left them up to enable potential law enforcement collaboration, a source close to the company told BuzzFeed News. The Capitol Hill police are working on the issue, the source said.

The incident highlights Twitter’s flawed approach to dealing with death threats on its platform. Instead of reporting death threats to law enforcement as a policy, Twitter simply deletes them. This means its users can make these threats with little fear of retribution, since the tweets usually disappear before police can review them. “This creates incentives for users of the platform,” a Democratic congressional aide told BuzzFeed News. “There’s a reason people on this platform feel comfortable making open death threats to Ilhan Omar.”

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