A Twitter spokesperson reportedly asserted that calling the gunman who recently opened fire in a Boulder, Colorado supermarket a “White Christian terrorist" does not violate the social media platform’s misinformation policies.
As Christian Headlines previously reported, on Monday, a 21-year-old man carrying a long gun opened fire at a King Soppers grocery store, killing 10 people, including one police officer.
At the time, media outlets and Twitter users denounced the attack as an act of White supremacy and racial injustice, even though the suspect's identity had not yet been disclosed.
Police on Tuesday confirmed the man’s identity as 21-year-old, Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa. Alissa is reportedly a Muslim immigrant from Syria.
Alissa suffered from mental illness, including paranoia, and was “very anti-social”, his brother told The Daily Beast in a phone interview.
The gunman’s Facebook page, which has since been deleted, featured posts ranging from content that was critical of former President Donald Trump’s stance on immigration to content about mixed martial arts and Islam.
After Alissa’s identity was revealed, several Twitter users deleted their tweets calling him white. Other users, however, claimed that their tweets were based on Alissa’s light-colored skin and not his ethnicity.
Meena Harris, the niece of Vice President Kamala Harris, deleted a tweet that was posted on Monday asserting that “violent white men are the greatest terrorist threat to our country”. On Tuesday, she addressed her previous post concerning her assumption about the suspect's ethnicity.
“I deleted a previous tweet about the suspect in the Boulder shooting”, Harris tweeted. “I made an assumption based on his being taken into custody alive and the fact that the majority of mass shootings in the U.S. are carried out by white men."
I deleted a previous tweet about the suspect in the Boulder shooting. I made an assumption based on his being taken into custody alive and the fact that the majority of mass shootings in the U.S. are carried out by white men.— Meena Harris (@meenaharris) March 23, 2021
Newsweek also reportedly presented several misleading posts to Twitter for review, including one user who described Alissa as “a White Christian terrorist”.
In response, a Twitter spokeswoman told the news outlet that the "White Christian terrorist" tweet and other false posts “are not in violation of the Twitter Rules”.
"We will not take action on every instance of misinformation. Currently, our misinformation rules cover COVID-19 misinformation, synthetic and manipulated media and civic integrity”, the spokeswoman added.
The incident comes days after last week’s shooting took place in Atlanta, Georgia when a gunman killed 8 people, mainly Asian women, across 3 spas. Similar accusations against white supremacy were made as the suspect, identified as Robert Long, 21, was white.
Long, however, told police that the attack was due to his struggle with sex addiction, and not because of racism.
Photo courtesy: Brett Jordan/Unsplash
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer and content creator. He is a contributing writer for Christian Headlines and the host of the For Your Soul Podcast, a podcast devoted to sound doctrine and biblical truth. He holds a Masters of Divinity from Alliance Theological Seminary.