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Twitter Complies With Police Subpoena For Aurora Copycat Account Information

Twitter has agreed to hand over the account information of an individual who threatened to carry out a theater shooting similar to the recent tragedy in Aurora.

The New York Times reports that after a three day delay from Twitter officials, the company turned over identifying information about the suspect to New York city police.

The individual in question tweeted threateningly that he or she would shoot patrons at Mike Tyson’s one-man Broadway show, allegedly writing, “I’m serious, people are gonna die like Aurora.”

The police learned about the tweet on Friday, but Twitter refused an emergency request to release account information that day.

Twitter has denied law enforcement requests in the past, typically standing behind its users’ right to privacy in similar situations. Recently, the company went to bat for an Occupy protester whose tweets and other identifiable information were requested by the NYPD, explaining that:

“As we said in our brief, “Twitter’s Terms of Service make absolutely clear that its users own their content.” Our filing with the court reaffirms our steadfast commitment to defending those rights for our users.”

This position – that users own their own content and Twitter does not have the right to share that content with the government – has been praised by rights activists and has set Twitter apart from other internet companies as one willing to fight legal battles to protect its users’ privacy.

However, the person who tweeted “I might just shoot up this theater in New York,” “I know they leave their exit doors unlocked,” and “I got 600 people on my hit list and that’s gonna be a mass murder for real,” lost the support of the company after a subpoena was served on Monday.

The police have not said whether they have identified or arrested the suspect.

(Gavel image via Shutterstock)

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