Twitter told Newsweek that characterizing accused mass killer Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa as a "white Christian terrorist" doesn't violate its misinformation policies — even though Alissa is from Syria and has been identified as Muslim.
What are the details?
Cops release chilling mugshot of accused Boulder mass murderer Ahmad Alissa | New York Postyoutu.be
But prior to the suspect's identity being made public, the magazine said numerous Twitter users assumed the suspect was white and characterized the massacre as another example of racial injustice and white supremacy in the United States, as it followed the mass killing in Atlanta by a white male.
And lo and behold, that "white supremacy" narrative blew up in Twitter users' faces when authorities revealed that Alissa's family emigrated to the U.S. from Syria and that his own brother said in the past Alissa was bullied for being Muslim, CNN reported.
More from Newsweek:
Some users have deleted their tweets calling him white. Others have defended their claims, saying they were based on Alissa's skin color rather than his ethnicity.
Newsweek put the misleading posts to Twitter. The social network has been accused of left-wing bias and anti-Christian prejudice in the way it polices speech on its platform.
In January, for example, Twitter locked the account of The Catholic Review, apparently for tweeting an article that described assistant Health and Human Services Secretary Rachel Levine as "a biological man identifying as a transgender woman."
A Twitter spokeswoman said the "white Christian terrorist" tweet and other false posts did not violate its rules.
"The Tweets referenced are not in violation of the Twitter Rules," the spokesperson noted, according to the magazine. "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."
Newsweek said Twitter's policies on synthetic and manipulated media include deepfake videos, and its civic integrity policies forbid things like "false claims that the 2020 U.S. election was rigged."
What tweets did Newsweek send to Twitter?
The magazine said it sent Twitter four tweets for review:
A white Christian Terrorist killed ten innocent people with a gun in a grocery store, Colrado, USA. @BBCWorld… https://t.co/ZpXTkdOYPv— SoHaiL SaNi🇵🇰🇹🇷🇵🇸 (@SoHaiL SaNi🇵🇰🇹🇷🇵🇸) 1616520486.0
A second courtesy of outspoken, far-left actress Rosanna Arquette:
Call it what it is ..White supremacist domestic terrorism— ✌🏼rosanna arquette (@✌🏼rosanna arquette) 1616456439.0
Newsweek also said it sent a tweet from former Democratic Virginia congressional nominee Qasim Rashid:
Tamir Rice was a 12-year-old black child. Police shot him in 1.7 sec & let him suffer in agonizing pain for 4 min &… https://t.co/iPWTv0RP9k— Qasim Rashid, Esq. قاسم رشید (@Qasim Rashid, Esq. قاسم رشید) 1616510150.0
And finally a tweet from Michael Harriot, senior writer at The Root:
Pointing out how white suspects get the benefit of the doubt without being stopped, frisked, beaten, shot or killed… https://t.co/npJJO2LzRo— Michael Harriot (@Michael Harriot) 1616443737.0
Newsweek said it reached out to the aforementioned tweet authors for comment.
More from the magazine:
On Monday, Meena Harris, the niece of Vice President Kamala Harris, published a now-deleted tweet blaming white men for the Boulder, Colorado shooting. It had over 6,500 retweets and 35,700 likes before she deleted it.
"The Atlanta shooting was not even a week ago. Violent white men are the greatest terrorist threat to our country," Harris wrote in the tweet.
Soon after deleting her tweet, Harris wrote on Twitter, "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."
Newsweek added that whites have "accounted for for 66 of 121 mass shootings that have occurred from 1982 to 2021, according to the German statistical data firm Statista."
Social media was filled with cutting replies to those who made assumptions about the suspect before the facts came in. Here are a few of them:
Race-baiting blue checks immediately assumed that the Boulder shooter was white. Turns out he’s Middle Eastern. W… https://t.co/ZpbzwxWjBy— Greg Price (@Greg Price) 1616514819.0
This narrative really isn't going to age well. https://t.co/8qX8to0p2K— Caleb Hull (@Caleb Hull) 1616515558.0