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Monday, September 25, 2023


Jokes about a bomb threat do not fly smoothly with American Airlines

If you have a Twitter, Facebook or Instagram account, you’ve surely seen some questionable posts. Most posts are generally mild, but sometimes the freedom of social media is abused.

There are countless stories about wrongdoings online, from negative messages to inappropriate photos to cyber-bullying. The power of social media has grown significantly in recent years. Many sites, such as Twitter, have become news sources and means for companies to be in touch with consumers.

A 14-year-old girl from the Netherlands who calls herself Sarah clearly did not realize the scope of social media’s influence when she tweeted a bomb threat “joke” to American Airlines on Sunday.

“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,” the tweet read, according to USA Today.

American Airlines replied to the girl informing her that they “take these threats very seriously” and her IP address would be forwarded to the FBI.

Her account has since been removed, but the exchange set off a news storm. The exchange attracted attention mostly because of the foolishness Sarah demonstrated.

Despite Sarah’s arrest, a trend has started. Dozens of Twitter users have tweeted bomb threat jokes to American Airlines, according to the Washington Post.

Presumably, those individuals would have understood the negative impact of their messages. They meant to be funny, but no one is laughing.

Most Twitter users seem to forget people can see each tweet they send out into the world. First, people were sharing what they had for dinner that night, and now it has become a dangerous weapon.

Tweeting bomb jokes disrespects victims. For ignorant teenagers to be insensitive is disgraceful. If enough jokes are sent out, people will become desensitized to threats, and the serious issue will become less important.

According to the Washington Post, airlines are using social media to increase effective communication with their passengers. Flooding their notifications with clutter makes communication more complicated.

Passengers appreciate the almost instant responses to flight issues. Airlines now use social media, which is “unrivaled in its efficiency,” said Ragy Thomas, Sprinklr chief executive, according to the Washington Post.

Not only are bomb threat jokes inconsiderate, they interfere with communication and cause panic. Safety is an airline’s top priority, and for teenagers to compromise the comfort of others for a laugh is unacceptable.

“We take security matters very seriously and work with authorities on a case by case basis,” said American Airlines, according to the New York Daily News.

I’m not a proponent of governments monitoring Internet activity, but if that’s what it takes to make people take what they post online seriously, then perhaps there should be a mandate in place.

I’m glad Sarah was arrested for her crime, but I am disappointed that others followed her footsteps.

People need to be better educated about the seriousness of bomb threats. Young people should also be aware of the massive impact of social media.

While social media can be used as a platform for thoughts and opinions, it is essential that it is used carefully and somewhat professionally.

There are consequences for social media blunders. What you post online could either lead to an arrest now or come back to haunt you in the future. Just imagine a job interview where your future boss reads all your tweets and Facebook statuses to you.

Be careful online, or “tweeted a bomb threat to an airline” might end up on your resume.

Opinion columnist Amber Hewitt is a print journalism sophomore and may be reached at [email protected]


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