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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  1. Anonymous Coward

    The real* terrorists must be pissing themselves

    General public: 0

    Terrorists: 1

    * actual baddies.

  2. jake Silver badge

    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.

    1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      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.

      1. jake Silver badge

        @Loyal Commenter

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

  3. Bumpy Cat

    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.

  4. Gerard Krupa

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

    So they lied then

    1. Ru

      "lying in good faith"

      Would be the Politician's approach to the issue.

      1. lpopman
        Thumb Up

        titular frothy mix

        Not intended as a factual statement

  5. Perpetual Cyclist

    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.

    1. Ru

      "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.

      1. pitagora
        Thumb Down

        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.

        1. jake Silver badge


          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 ...

    2. Fogcat

      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.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Perpetual Cyclist

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

  6. Anonymous John

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

    See title.

    1. a_been

      Yes it does

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

  7. Anonymous Coward

    April 1st

    Will henceforth be known as April Terrorism Day.

    1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      How about

      April Misrepresentative Hyperbole Day?

  8. Mike Brown


    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?

    1. Anonymous Coward

      "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."



      1. jake Silver badge

        @AC 23:48

        That's kidnapping, not terrorism.

  9. P. Lee Silver badge

    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.!

  10. yoinkster

    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.

    1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      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.

  11. Bernard M. Orwell

    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.

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