For the second time this year, Twitter has been compelled to hand over information about one of its users to the NYPD. After receiving a subpoena from the Manhattan DA's office, Twitter provided information about a user who had Tweeted, "I might just shoot up this theater in new York I know they leave their exit doors unlocked. Ha now I gotta plan it step by step." Later, he added, "This s--t ain’t no joke yo — I’m serious, people are gonna die like aurora."
The Twitter account @Obamasmistress has since been taken down, and it's unclear if Twitter suspended the account or if the suspect took it down on his own. The Times reports that on Friday night, the NYPD made an emergency request for the account holder’s registration information and computer network address. Early Saturday morning, Twitter rejected the request, explaining in an e-mail to the NYPD that "this does not appear to fall under those strict parameters" of an emergency threat.
The threats were aimed at the new one-man Broadway show Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth, which opened at the Longacre Theater in Midtown Friday night under the direction of Spike Lee. (The show is scheduled to run for 12 nights only.) The NYPD has not said whether it has arrested the person behind the Twitter account, which was updated from Florida.
Last month, Manhattan Criminal Court Judge Matthew Sciarrino ordered Twitter to turn over the tweets of Occupy Wall Street protester Malcolm Harris, a freelance writer and editor who lives in Brooklyn. A subpoena from the Manhattan DA's office sought "user information, including email address," in relation to tweets made in the days leading up to the start of Occupy Wall Street last September.
And another subpoena in March sought information from the account of DC-based Occupy Wall Street protester Jeff Rae, who was among 700 demonstrators arrested on the Brooklyn Bridge last October. Unlike this week, Twitter has gone to court to fight those subpoenas, arguing that "content that Twitter users create and submit to Twitter are clearly a form of electronic communication that, accordingly, implicates First Amendment protections."