#FAIL: Teenager Tweets Terrorist Threat to American Airlines
Dutch Police Arrest Girl in Rotterdam
A 14-year-old girl named Sarah using the Twitter handle @QueenDemetriax_ sent a threatening tweet to American Airlines early Sunday and the response, both on the part of the airline and the online community, was swift.
The note, which in part read “My name is Ibrahim and I’m from Afghanistan” concluded with “I’m going to do something really big bye,” received an immediate reply from American’s social media team, which effectively pointed out that pranks on Twitter have more consequences than those perpetrated in the schoolyard.
“Sarah,” the airline’s response read, “we take these threats very seriously. Your IP address and details will be forwarded to security and the FBI.”
Sarah immediately answered American with numerous and somewhat frantic tweets, saying she was only a 14-year-old girl and was just “kidding.” “I’m so sorry I’m scared now,” she wrote, following up with, “I was joking and it was my friend not me, take her IP address not mine.”
Sarah, perhaps unable to appreciate the seriousness of her actions, then focused on what might be more important to a typical teenager, replying “At least I have something to tell at school tomorrow lol” and what really counts today in the schoolyard, “Omg I gained 3k followers today.”
Meanwhile, despite American Airlines’ reply, Twitter users, including American Airlines, do not have access to others’ IP numbers and details beyond what is publicly available in a user’s profile, although Twitter itself would have information on the user’s IP address from which the post was made and the online service’s “Guidelines for Law Enforcement” make it clear “private information” would only be revealed in response to a subpoena or court order.
“At American, the safety of our passengers and crew is our number one priority,” the airline later said in a statement. “We take security matters very seriously and work with authorities on a case by case basis.”
An FBI spokesman reached Sunday afternoon would not confirm or deny whether it was looking into the tweet, citing bureau policy.
One Twitter user, Charm of the South, presumably also a teenager, aptly summarized the problem: “So @QueenDemetriax_ is twitter famous because she joked about blowing up an airplane. This is what’s wrong with our generation.”
Sarah was arrested on Monday by police in the Netherlands. A police spokesman told the Associated Press that the girl turned herself in to Rotterdam authorities and is now being questioned.
Despite the publicity around the tweet to American and the arrest, another Twitter user sent a threat to Southwest Airlines on Monday. The airline responded on Twitter saying “The safety of our customers and employees is our top priority. Your info had been given to the appropriate authorities.
UPDATE 1 – April 14, 2014 AT 2:30 P.M. EDT
The article has been updated to reflect the additional information that has become available during the day including the girl’s arrest.