Parkland father: Twitter did not suspend users who harassed me using name of daughter’s killer

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Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter Jaime was killed in last year’s mass school shooting in Parkland, Fla., said Thursday that Twitter did not immediately suspend users who harassed him from accounts named for his daughter’s killer.

Guttenberg said he has received “target harassment” from Twitter accounts called @shot_nik or “Nik Shot your Child,” named after 20-year-old Nikolas Cruz, who is charged with 17 counts of first-degree murder and 17 counts of attempted murder after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

The tweet Guttenberg shared contained a screenshot from a username beginning in “Nikolas Destroyed” that mocks the death of 14-year-old Jaime, taunting her father by writing that he will “never see her again” and she will not get married or have children.

He wrote that he reported the user for harassment, but the Twitter support team did not, at first, find the content to have violated any of its rules.{mosads}

“We seek to consider context and to see the full picture before deciding whether reported content or accounts violate our rules,” Twitter wrote in an email to Guttenberg dated Wednesday. “Sometimes an isolated comment in a broader conversation — or an option which differs extremely from yours, may no cross the line into violation.”

Guttenberg responded by offering context of his own.

“Ok, context is purposeful targeted harassment using multiple accounts created yesterday with the name of my daughters killer. Still harassment,” he wrote.

In a statement, a Twitter spokesperson told The Hill that the site “made an error” in its initial review.” “After receiving further reports with additional context, we took enforcement action,” the spokesperson said.

“When it comes to enforcing our policies, we have a global team that works around the clock to review reports and help enforce our rules consistently, and also use technology to help detect behaviors that may detract from the public conversation. When working at scale, mistakes will happen, and when they do, we’ll work to correct them as quickly as possible.”

The father, who has emerged as a fierce gun control advocate following the shooting, appealed to his local elected officials from Florida: Reps. Ted Deutch (D) and Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D) and Sens. Marco Rubio (R) and Rick Scott (R).

Deutch responded by calling it “absolutely awful.”

After posting about the incident to his 190,000 Twitter followers, Guttenberg said that Twitter reversed course and suspended the accounts.

“Sad that I had to actually tweet this crap to get Twitter to take action,” he wrote. “Also sad that these platforms are so easy to use for targeted harassment. More needs to be done.”

Updated Aug. 2, 6:07 a.m.

Tags Debbie Wasserman Schultz Fred Guttenberg Marco Rubio Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting Parkland school shooting Ted Deutch Twitter
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