A MAN FACES up to seven years in prison for threatening a Google executive over Twitter, the latest debacle to hit the micro-blogging social network.
Gregory Calvin King, 27, was arrested on 19 August and indicted last Thursday for sending close to 21,000 harassing and threatening tweets to Google's VP of local, maps and location services, Marissa Mayer, according to the San Francisco Examiner.
The messages were sent between November of last year and the day of his arrest last month, many of them in all caps. Some simply criticised Mayer and Google, while others insulted either of them. However, many of the messages contained explicit threats, such as:
"YOUR SCARED OF THE F****** LAW. IM SURE YOU THINK IM SERIOUS AND I'LL F****** SHOOT YOU."
Another tweet from the same day read:
"IM INTERESTED IN F****** SHOOTING YOU."
A third tweet said:
"I THINK IT WOULD BE VERY F****** RESONABLE TO F****** KILL ONE OF YOU."
King also accused Mayer of being involved in a group that allegedly tried to infect him with HIV in powder form. Many of his messages seem to be focused on this allegation. However, a spokesperson for the FBI in San Francisco said that there was no known connection between the two people.
It seems that King never a missed a day to tweet Mayer, who appears to be the only person he tweeted to. On the day of his arrest he had sent around 150 tweets to her.
Mayer was the first female engineer at Google and has climbed the ladder into one of the more prominent positions within the company. It is not clear if King's threats were motivated by sexism, but it appears likely to be the case, as he also made a number of other offensive remarks that were racist, anti-semitic and homophobic.
This is not the first issue to face Twitter over recent months, but it is perhaps the most serious, in that there appears to be a definite intent to threaten in these tweets, compared to the seemingly unintentional acts of other individuals. Two Mexicans face up to 30 years in prison after they falsely reported a shooting rampage in local schools, which caused widespread panic. Earlier, a man was fined £2,000 for threatening to blow up an airport after his flight was delayed.
King faces two charges, one of sending threatening messages through interstate communication, and the other of sending harassing messages. He could get up to five years in prison for the first offence and up to two years for the second. A trial date has yet to be set. µ