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back to article Twitter users charged with terrorism for false tweets

Mexican prosecutors are pursuing terrorism and sabotage charges against two Twitter users who falsely reported an armed attack by drug gangs was in progress at a local elementary school. The tweets falsely claimed gunmen had stormed several schools in the Mexican state of Veracruz and either injured or kidnapped children. A …

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FAIL

The real* terrorists must be pissing themselves

General public: 0

Terrorists: 1

* actual baddies.

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Gawd/ess ...

Trolling is terrorism?

Somehow, we need to teach TheGreatUnwashed[tm] that ASCII isn't exactly reality.

But that would put the kibosh on !GooMyFaceYouMSTwit ... and unfortunately, multi-billion-$currency, multi-national marketing companies seem to be driving the minds of idiots, world wide.

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FAIL

Ummm, yes

If it causes terror. In this case, it allegedly led to panic and several traffic accidents.

Terrorism isn't just blowing things up, it is any activity which is intended to cause terror amongst the general public. Arguably, this definition should be extended to those activities of governments that seem designed to keep people scared and obedient (such as 'terror threat levels' and other similar nonsense).

Conversely, terrorism *isn't* any activity which *doesn't* cause terror, such as photographing police officers, or protesting outside parliament.

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@Loyal Commenter

Um, no. That's inducing a panic, not terrorism.

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Alert

Difference in degree

I don't agree with the UK verdict against Paul Chambers, but I do think these two, Gilberto Martinez Vera and Maria de Jesus Bravo Pagola, should be prosecuted. No-one fled Nottingham airport in a panic, or avoided the airport as a result. People wouldn't even have noticed if someone hadn't complained. In contrast, the reported events in Mexico are believable and people actually responded immediately.

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“They simply informed, incorrectly, but they informed.”

So they lied then

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Ru

"lying in good faith"

Would be the Politician's approach to the issue.

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titular frothy mix

Not intended as a factual statement

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FAIL

Terrorism is whatever we want it to be.

So playing a stupid prank is now terrorism.

Wasting police time, yes. Terrorism no.

Throw the book at 'em on the sentencing. Make it clear that there are real terrorists about and even a tweet can cause major panic. But a tweet is a tweet. It is not killing people or planting bombs.

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Ru
Meh

"It is not killing people"

It caused panicy parents to end up in traffic accidents. This is a bit beyond the usual trolling, no?

That said, it isn't terrorism. It isn't just a prank deserving of a slap on the wrist though.

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Unhappy

A Title

Let's just get clear that what is happening in Mexico isn't terrorism, it's criminal activity, there's no political agenda (well actually with the level of corruption that may be arguable).

I have friends who live in Mexico and in the time since I visited them in Monterey last year things have got so much worse they wouldn't advise a return visit now. the panic that the tweets generated is perfectly justified because that sort of thing DOES happen.

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Anonymous Coward

@Perpetual Cyclist

I imagine the parents who thought their children were being held hostage were pretty terrified.

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guy caused 26 accidents by sheer panic - how is it not terrorism?

I don't know about you but last time I had a family member in a hospital (for something unlikely to be life threatening by the way) I was speeding across town at night 130 km/h (with the obvious 50 km/h limit of course). Until you are in that panic situation you can't even image how it feels to be afraid for a loved one. If I though my family was being held hostage somewhere I probably wouldn't have even looked at the red lights anymore and just hit the paddle. No wonder there were 26 accidents because of this when everybody started to drive like in need4speed.

PS: I have a great prank idea. Lets tell everybody at a clinic they have HIV and lets see if any of them kill themselves over the news. Afterwords we can say: sorry, it was just a prank.

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@pitagoa

So basically, your family member was in hospital. Getting all the care that modern medicine can provide. For something not life-threatening.

Yet you, yourself, figured that it was OK to potentially hurt J. Random Stranger (and maybe kill yourself), rushing to the side of said family member ... To do WHAT, exactly?

What a fucking moron. The mind boggles ...

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Free speech doesn't mean you can shout "Fire!" in a crowded theatre.

See title.

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Yes it does

Just dosn't mean you can avoid being held responsible for shouting "FIRE" if there is no fire.

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WTF?

April 1st

Will henceforth be known as April Terrorism Day.

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Facepalm

How about

April Misrepresentative Hyperbole Day?

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tweets?

since when did twitter become a credible source for information? Its a social networking website, not the BBC. Why on earth would anyone use a 42 character message on a privatly run page on the internet as gospel without checking real sources first?

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Flame

"Honey? Phone call.

It's some terrorists, they say they're at our house and have our kids at gunpoint. They'll shoot them unless we give them £1M."

" Let's check the BBC, see if there are any hostage situations. None reported? Right, tell them that they're clearly trolling and we don't believe them."

*bang*

*thud*

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@AC 23:48

That's kidnapping, not terrorism.

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Flame

re: Free speech doesn't mean you can shout "Fire!" in a crowded theatre.

The knowlege that free speech exists means that if someone does shout "Fire!" in a crowded theatre, you look up and see if there are flames before stampeding to the door.

Actually, even if there isn't free speech, you still look up.!

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FAIL

So what happened to Welles

The man himself says the prank is similar to that of the radio prank played out by Welles and remind me again, for what crimes was Welles prosecuted?

Stupid world.

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Facepalm

That would be the same Orson Welles...

...who made sure that before the broadcast in questions, there was a notice given that the following was a work of fiction, yet still got into trouble because some idiots thought a radio play was real?

If you do a little digging, there wasn't actually a 'mass panic' as a result of the broadcasting of War of the Worlds, but widespread reporting of there having been a panic by the press. Fancy that, newspapers printing half truths...

I think there might be a slight difference there but I can't quite put my finger on it.

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Alien

First, a question....

Why did the authorities not simply phone the schools in question and ask if there were any issues?

Secondly, Mass Panic Occurs After War of Worlds Broadcast - Not exactly true, you know. In fact, there is almost no evidence that any mass panic occured at all. The Coopers Field Police Department record that they had a couple of calls that night that were listed as 'pranks'. As a precaution, they attended the alleged 'landing site' and arrested a number of drunken teenagers.

This idea of "Thousands pouring into the streets in panic" is a media-driven myth, as newspapers wanted to discredit radio as much as possible. Kind of like how our modern media like to blame the interwebs for rioting and so forth.

http://bigthink.com/ideas/24685

http://skeptics.stackexchange.com/questions/1994/did-the-1938-radio-broadcast-of-the-war-of-the-worlds-lead-to-mass-hysteria

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