Security Magazine

Teens Now Tweeting Bomb-Threat Jokes to American Airlines

April 16, 2014

Teenagers are now tweeting bomb jokes to American Airlines, spurred on by the arrest of a Dutch teenager identified as “Sarah” in Rotterdam on Monday, who tweeted “hello my name’s Ibrahim and I’m from Afghanistan. I’m part of Al Qaida and on June 1st I’m gonna do something really big bye” to the airline. American Airlines replied that they had reported her name and IP address to authorities.

While that demonstration should have, theoretically, sent a message to other pranksters that terrorism jokes to airlines are off limits, it clearly didn’t work as planned.

Examples of real-life tweets to American Airlines’ Twitter account over the past few days include: “release her or I’ll bomb your HQ. you gonna arrest me now?” or even “I have a bomb under the next plane to take off.”

According to a Washington Post blog, “We hardly need to reiterate the problems with this kind of thing: airlines need to take threats seriously, no matter how silly they seem, which means a lot of airline employees (and presumably, police and security and FBI) are spending a lot of time tracking down nuisance threats, as well.”

What is your policy for social media monitoring and response? What are your best practices for reacting to online threats on social media, from joking “trolls” or otherwise?