U.S. NEWS

Twitter Admits Mistake After Fox News Pundit Says They Disregarded Bomb Suspect's Threats

A Twitter account appearing to belong to Cesar Sayoc threatened Rochelle Ritchie: "Hug your loved ones real close every time you leave home.”

Rochelle Ritchie, a Fox News pundit and former press secretary for congressional Democrats, says the suspect arrested in connection with packages containing likely pipe bombs mailed in the past week threatened her on Twitter this month.

And despite being told about the threats, Twitter did not ban the account.

Cesar Sayoc, 56, of South Florida was arrested on Friday and charged with five federal crimes related to the creation and mailing of the packages, which were sent to individuals critical of President Donald Trump.

A Twitter account believed to be Sayoc’s tweeted at Ritchie on Oct. 11, saying: “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.”

Ritchie tweeted that the threat from the Twitter account came after she made an appearance on Fox News. In that same tweet, she shared Twitter’s response to her report of the offending tweet.

Twitter said the account did not violate “Twitter Rules against abusive behavior” in an email dated Oct. 11.

A spokesperson for Twitter initially told HuffPost on Friday that they “don’t have a comment on what is a live law enforcement investigation.” However, eight hours after Ritchie raised the issue in a now-viral tweet, the company admitted that it “made a mistake” by not addressing Ritchie’s concern.

Twitter apparently suspended Sayoc’s alleged Twitter account hours after Ritchie’s tweet went viral. 

According to Ritchie, the company later Friday sent her a follow-up email to their Oct. 11 response, claiming that the first message was sent in error.

In its statement late Friday, Twitter admitted they made an “error” and apologized for it.

The company said it was investigating the error and promised to improve how it responds to its users’ concerns. 

“We made a mistake when Rochelle Ritchie first alerted us to the threat made against her,” the company wrote on its Twitter Safety account. 

“We know we have a lot of work to do,” the company added.

The account that threatened Ritchie has since been suspended. Ritchie did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.

Carla Herreria contributed to this report.

CONVERSATIONS