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Twitter hate speech draws a felony charge in North Carolina

Twitter hate speech draws a felony charge in North Carolina
[Photo: Sara Kurfeß/Unsplash]

A North Carolina man is being indicted in federal court for “transmitting an interstate threat” after heavily insinuating in a tweet that he would lynch Virginia senate candidate Qasim Rashid if they were to meet face-to-face.

Joseph Cecil Vandevere was indicted on June 20th with the single felony charge, according to The Daily Beast. The news is fairly remarkable considering the frequency with which death threats are made on Twitter and other social platforms—and the rarity with which law enforcement addresses them.

Vandevere initially tweeted at Rashid in March of last year. Rashid, in turn, called out the message for violating Twitter’s terms of service. You can see it below:

Twitter did suspend Vandevere’s account.

In a follow-up interview with The Daily Beast, Rashid said the indictment was a positive sign. “It’s going to make social media safer, and it’s actually going to protect speech for those who engage in constructive dialogue as opposed to violent extremism.”

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