Facebook threat equals jail redux: British man sentenced to 2 years-plus

Authorities are taking a hard line against social-media threats in the United States and elsewhere. Last week, we wrote about a Texas teen jailed over a Facebook comment that included a supposedly sarcastic comment about killing kindergartners. This week, a British man was handed a sentence of two years and four months over his Facebook threats to kill U.S. schoolchildren.

The comments, which Reece Elliott, 24, posted not too long after a mass shooting at Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Conn., prompted officials to keep 3,000 Tennessee students from school, according to the Guardian. “I’m killing 200 people minimum at school. I will be on CNN,” Elliott reportedly posted on a Facebook tribute page for a Tennessee teen killed in a car accident. He was arrested after the FBI — which mines social media for such threats — contacted British police.

Other Brits have been in hot water over social-media posts — but in a different context. Last year, the High Court in London overturned the conviction of a British man who tweeted in 2010 that he would blow up an airport after a flight delay. As we wrote then, Paul Chambers became an Internet free speech cause celebre, with comedians and others coming to his defense.


Photo from Reuters


Levi Sumagaysay Levi Sumagaysay (4250 Posts)

Levi Sumagaysay is editor of the combined SiliconBeat and Good Morning Silicon Valley. She also helps take care of SiliconValley.com, the Mercury News tech website. Email: lsumagaysay@bayareanewsgroup.com