In the 12 days since Donald Trump took the oath of office, a steady stream of social media posts have called for the new president’s assassination. The posts are pretty basic and many are jokes or sarcastic or hyperbolic — but there are a lot of them. In a Dataminr search of Twitter posts since Inauguration Day containing the phrase “assassinate Trump” more than 12,000 tweets came up, reports Mashable.
There have been reports of agents knocking on the doors of social media users. A Kentucky woman who tweeted, “If someone was cruel enough to assassinate MLK, maybe someone will be kind enough to assassinate Trump,” is currently being investigated by the Secret Service, according to the Associated Press.
An Ohio man tweeted several messages about killing Trump on election night, according to NBC News. The Secret Service questioned him the next day and he was charged with making threats to the then president-elect.
How to Avoid The Feds
Former U.S. Secret Service special agent Tim Franklin, who is now a criminology and criminal justice professor of counterterrorism and cybercrimes at Arizona State University, said in a phone call Tuesday that “it’s the people who have a true and genuine intent to do harm that the Secret Service is worried about.”
That’s why one-off posts and people with no record of threatening messages tend to get passed over. He said the Secret Service is looking out for trends and consistent behavior, like the person who repeats their intent to kill the president over time. If someone has made threats in the past they are more likely to get investigated when they post another “Kill Trump” post.
If you do tweet something that the secret service could take the wrong way, especially if you do it often, you should circle back every few days and delete old social media posts so that your trail looks clean.
For users who use certain language and specific details about the president, his location and how the assassination will happen, the Secret Service will likely take notice.